The Yankees’ rotation took a serious shot Wednesday when it was announced that they’ll go without left-hander James Paxton for three to four months on account of back surgery. General manager Brian Cashman discussed the news with Joel Sherman of the New York Post, saying Paxton first complained of back discomfort in his final regular-season outing Sept. 27. That didn’t stop Paxton from making three playoff appearances, though, and Cashman noted surgery was a “last resort.” The timing of the procedure’s not ideal, but the Yankees didn’t want to rush into a decision, according to Cashman.
One of Paxton’s fellow Yankees lefties, J.A. Happ, was a trade candidate earlier this offseason, but Cashman revealed Paxton’s injury “certainly” played a part in the team’s decision to keep him. However, there was trade interest in Happ, Cashman told Sherman. “There was a lot of knocking on our door about it,” he said.
Here’s more from the American League…
- Angels infielder Luis Rengifo appears to be on the verge of going to the Dodgers in a trade for outfielder Joc Pederson. It’s not the first time Rengifo’s name has come up in trade talks this offseason, though. Rengifo was part of the discussions between the Angels and Indians when the two teams were weighing a Corey Kluber swap back in December, per Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. The two clubs couldn’t come to an agreement, and the Indians ended up trading Kluber to the Rangers a few days later.
- Twins righty Jake Odorizzi decided to forgo free agency this offseason in favor of the team’s $17.8MM qualifying offer. Odorizzi may have done better on the open market – MLBTR predicted a three year, $51MM payday – but he doesn’t regret his choice to stick with Minnesota on a short-term deal. “Not a bit,” he told Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. “I made my decision based on the best knowledge we had at the time. Money started flying around pretty quick, and the market got pretty hot, but nobody predicted that.” Indeed, there has been far more money distributed in free agency than many anticipated when the offseason began. Odorizzi’s now left to hope the cash will continue flowing next winter if he gets to free agency, though Miller writes that he remains “open to” a long-term pact with the Twins.
- Rays outfield prospect Josh Lowe underwent right shoulder debridement surgery in November and “likely” won’t return to action until late May, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The 22-year-old Lowe, a 2016 first-round pick and the younger brother of Rays first baseman Nate Lowe, ranks as the team’s 11th overall prospect at MLB.com. Josh Lowe enjoyed a strong season at the Double-A level last year, when he slashed .252/.341/.442 with 18 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 519 plate appearances.