2. James Paxton
The 2023 campaign proved that James Paxton still has something left in the tank.
After making just 6 starts between 2020 and 2022, Paxton was healthy enough to stay on the mound more often than not this season. Starting in 19 games (his most since 2019), the Canadian lefty went 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA while averaging 9.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Although Paxton's play began to taper off as the season continued and he still dealt with the occasional injury, he still proved that he's decent enough to play at the bottom of a rotation.
I just don't know if he'll be in the Red Sox's 2024 rotation. It was only back in September when Boston Globe's Alex Speier reported that the two sides hadn't engaged in any contract discussions.
While Paxton was one of Boston's better pitchers this year, it's still important to be realistic. For starters, this was the first time he made double-digit starts in four years. Only time will tell if this is the new norm or a one-off fluke.
Secondly, Paxton isn't getting any younger and turns 35 in the first week of November. Injuries are easier to rack up once a pitcher ages, and that's the last thing the Red Sox need to deal with in a new era.
With the organization potentially trending in a younger direction, it's time for Paxton to test his luck in a new city.