James Paxton, LHP
A lot of the fanbase (myself included) had doubts if James Paxton could ever be an MLB pitcher again. After all, the veteran southpaw started only six games from 2020 to 2022 due to a litany of injuries.
Instead of letting the doubters win, though, Paxton proved that he still has something left in the tank this season.
The Canadian hurler was solid before being shut down in September, going 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA while averaging 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s still dealt with the occasional injury now and then, but his 19 starts are the most he’s made since 2019, which is a good sign for his future.
The Red Sox will need to fill the rotation anyway this winter, so they may as well sign Paxton to another prove-it deal. He’s already talked about wanting to stay in an interview with The Boston Globe‘s Alex Speier on Wednesday.
"“I’ve had a good experience [in Boston]. I like pitching here, being part of this team, this club.” – James Paxton on returning to Boston in 2024"
Paxton added that he’s yet to hear from Boston about being brought back, so it’s time for management to fix that. He’s rediscovered his confidence with the Red Sox and there’s no reason for them not to see if lightning strikes twice with a low-risk one-year deal.
If he proves that 2022 wasn’t a fluke, we’ll have a quality mid-rotation contributor on our hands. If not, there isn’t any harm in trying.
Either way, bringing back Paxton is beneficial if the Red Sox want to be more respected in 2024.
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