Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers officially announced the signing of James Paxton to a one-year contract for the 2024 season worth a reported $11 million with incentives. The exact terms of the deal were not announced.
The Dodgers now have a full 40-man roster and Paxton is listed as wearing No. 65.
Paxton spent the past two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, but did not pitch in 2022 because of a Grade 2 lat tear. The left-hander also missed stretches of the 2023 season due to multiple injuries, but was effective when healthy.
Overall with the Red Sox, 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. Paxton has spent most of his career with the Seattle Mariners, where he was performing as a top-of-the-rotation starter when healthy.
He had his best season in 2018 with the Mariners, posting career highs in innings (160.1), strikeouts (208), strikeouts per nine (11.7), complete games (2) and WHIP (1.10).
On May 8, 2018, he tossed a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, striking out 16 batters in the contest, becoming the first Canadian-born left-hander to toss a no-hitter in Canada and the second Canadian-born pitcher to toss a no-hitter in Major League Baseball history (other, Dick Fowler on Sept. 9, 1945 against the St. Louis Browns).
A veteran of 10 MLB seasons, also spending some time with the New York Yankees, Paxton owns a 3.69 ERA, 3.46 FIP and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 26.3% of hitters and walking 7.5% in 850.2 innings.
Even after acquiring Yoshinbo Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow, the Dodgers remained interested in adding to their rotation due to the uncertainty surrounding it. Yamamoto needs to adjust from the Nippon Professional Baseball schedule of pitching once a week, Bobby Miller and Glasnow set their career-high in innings last season, and Walker Buehler is returning from a second Tommy John surgery.
He figures to open the season as one of the Dodgers starting pitchers, slotting in near the end and giving them an upside option with experience in their fourth or fifth rotation spot.
Does James Paxton signing affect Dodgers’ pursuit of Clayton Kershaw?
Paxton signing with the Dodgers at this juncture poses a question if the rotation has room for Clayton Kershaw in it. Even with the added depth, there certainly remains the possibility of acquiring another starter, particularly Kershaw.
The Dodgers have set themselves up where Kershaw isn’t a need, but the door is still open for his return and the ball is still in his court if he wants to re-sign with the only franchise he’s known.
When healthy, Kershaw proven to be an effective and savvy starting pitcher with an ability to get big league outs. But health is the key for the southpaw.
Kershaw underwent offseason shoulder surgery to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule in his throwing shoulder, but the Dodgers remain interested despite the long recovery ahead. It’s unclear when exactly he’ll be ready, but the expectation is some time in the second half of the season.
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