Red Sox Showing Strong Interest in Reuniting with Pitcher

Red Sox Showing Strong Interest in Reuniting with Pitcher

The Red Sox are showing “strong interest” in a reunion with left-hander James Paxton, according Rob Bradford of WEEI. The 35-year-old lefty signed with Boston prior to the 2021 season while rehabbing Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2022 season before making 19 starts for the club in 2023.

 

 

Ever since Paxton made his major league debut in 2013, he’s been dogged by injuries throughout his career. In recent years, Paxton has had back surgery in addition to the aforementioned UCL procedure while also spending time on the shelf due to knee, hamstring and forearm issues.

Even in the earlier days of his career, Paxton ranging from a strained pectoral muscle to a left lat strain. Despite those injury concerns, however, Paxton has flashed the potential to be a quality No. 2 starter when fully healthy.

 

 

Red Sox Showing Strong Interest in Reuniting with Pitcher

From 2016-19, Paxton made 101 starts and posted a 3.60 ERA and 3.16 FIP with a 28.5% strikeout rate across 568 innings of work.

 

 

In the first half of the 2023 season, Paxton appeared to have recaptured that dominant form from earlier in his career. In his first nine starts of the season, Paxton struck out a whopping 31.1% of batters faced while posting a 2.70 ERA and 3.22 FIP over 50 innings of work.

Unfortunately, that dominant form did not last throughout the remainder of the season as Paxton’s final ten starts saw him post a 6.46 ERA while he struck out just 18.6% of batters faced in 46 innings of work.

 

 

Red Sox Showing Strong Interest in Reuniting with Pitcher

While it’s fair to point out that the veteran lefty’s overall numbers are skewed by a 9 2/3 inning stint that saw him give up a whopping 17 runs (16 earned) before going on the injured list with knee inflammation, even his full-season ERA of 4.50 and strikeout rate of 24.6% paint Paxton as more of a back-end starter than anything else.

 

 

While it’s certainly possible he could improve upon those numbers with better health in 2024, it seems unwise for the Red Sox to expect him to revert to ace-level production in his age-35 season.

With that being said, Boston would surely benefit from adding more than one starter to its rotation this offseason, which could help to take pressure off young arms like Kutter Crawford, Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock while also helping to reinforce the club’s depth in the event of additional injury woes for Chris Sale.

 

 

Red Sox Showing Strong Interest in Reuniting with Pitcher

Paxton could therefore be a desirable secondary addition for a Red Sox club that figures to continue its focus on adding a front-end starting pitcher even after missing out on Yoshinobu Yamamoto earlier this week, particularly considering the left-hander’s previously expressed desire to return to Boston in 2024.

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