Dodgers Rumors: James Paxton Preferred Playing On West Coast

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have made starting pitching a priority this offseason, adding the likes of Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow while reaching a reported agreement to sign James Paxton.

Paxton is said to be signing a one-year contract worth $11 million for the 2024 season, with a chance to earn more through incentives. The left-hander spent the past two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, but did not pitch in 2022 because of a Grade 2 lat tear.

Paxton also missed stretches of the 2023 season due to multiple injuries, but was effective when healthy. He went 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 starts, but carried a much better 2.73 ERA into the All-Star break.

While the Red Sox had interest in retaining Paxton, he reportedly chose the Dodgers due to his preference of being on the West Coast, per Rob Bradford of WEEI:

Per source, while Red Sox did have strong interest in James Paxton his priority was staying on West Coast closer to his home

— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) January 23, 2024

The Dodgers have benefited several times this offseason from players preferring to be on the West Coast. Geographic location was believed to have played somewhat of a role in Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto joined the Dodgers, while Glasnow signed a contract extension with the team due in part to his Southern California roots.

Of course, there have been plenty of instances where free agents prefer to be on the East Coast, with Aaron Nola coming to mind when he re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies over potentially joining the Dodgers.

Along with playing in a desirable climate, the Dodgers have become arguably the most appealing destination for players due to their recent stretch of winning and financial flexibility.

Where does James Paxton fit into Dodgers rotation?

Paxton joins a Dodgers rotation that is set to include some combination of Yamamoto, Glasnow, Walker Buehler, Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan in 2024.

Paxton will allow the Dodgers to be more cautious with their handling of Buehler, who hasn’t pitched in nearly two years while recovering from Tommy John surgery. It will also allow them to give extra rest to Yamamoto, who pitched once a week in Japan and will need to adjust to the Major League schedule.

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