Andrew Friedman: James Paxton ‘Incredibly Confident’ After Reworked Dodgers Contract

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made a subtle addition to their starting rotation in signing James Paxton to a one-year contract, furthering their pursuit in having as much depth as possible.

Paxton’s deal is worth a $4 million base salary, with a $3 million signing bonus and incentives that boost the overall value of the deal. His original contract was slated to be for an $11 million guarantee, but the Dodgers shifted the framework of the agreement because of some health concerns.

The veteran left-hander believes he’ll be a strong piece to the current rotation after a solid first half of the 2023 season made him a starter to keep an eye on. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman also has a positive outlook on what Paxton brings, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“We don’t think so. He feels really good and strong,” Friedman said. “Obviously we weren’t around him last season so it’s hard. It’s harder. If you’re around someone, you see how they’re recovering, the treatment they’re getting, things that we can do to help. You have a much better feel for that with someone who’s been with you before. Someone who hasn’t, it’s harder.

“But he’s incredibly confident. We feel good about it. … He is a full go and ready to get after it and excited to be here.”

The Dodgers having pause with Paxton’s knee injury is understandable, and the backing from Friedman says a lot about the organization’s belief in what the veteran has left in the tank.

Paxton hasn’t had as much of an extended workload in recent seasons, logging just 96 innings pitched last year, his most since 2019.

With the Boston Red Sox, he went 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 starts. However, his 2.73 ERA prior to the All-Star break is where Paxton’s ceiling seemingly is.

Where does James Paxton slot into Dodgers starting rotation?

With Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Bobby Miller as the first three options, there isn’t much expectation for Paxton to be a force. As a backend starter, he’s a fantastic piece for a rotation that was void of depth at the end of last season.

The Dodgers also have young right-handers Emmet Sheehan, Gavin Stone and Landon Knack, along with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, who are returning from injuries at some point during the season.

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