The Yankees Need To Hold Onto James Paxton & Masahiro Tanaka

With the 2020 season in question, we must look ahead to potential free agent candidates for the New York Yankees this offseason. 

It is April 23rd and at this time the Yankees would have been finishing their four-game road trip in Detroit. At this rate, we do not know when the MLB season will return but Commissioner Rob Manfred strongly believes that baseball will return this year. Let’s say, for example, there is no baseball played at all, guys like DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton could be gone. 

DJ LeMahieu played a key role for the Bombers last year and I can see him coming back, but the situation at hand is questioning whether we saw the last of Tanaka and Paxton in the Yankees rotation. 

The Yankees traded for Paxton and when Tanaka signed with New York back in 2014, he was among 1 out of the 4 big free-agent signings. 2014 was the last year the Yankees went big in free agency before Yankees signed Cole in 2019.

When you look at the current rotation, a majority of the pitchers missed some time due to injury or suspensions. When James Paxton is healthy, he could a big number two or three pitcher in the Yankees’ rotation. In his first season as a Yankee, Paxton went 15-6 with 186 strikeouts and had a whip of 1.28. Paxton does have a history of injuries as he hit the IL a few times last season.

In my opinion, ever since New York signed Masahiro Tanaka back in 2014, he has been the true ace of the team. In his five years as a Yankees pitcher, he’s been the most dominant in the postseason. His postseason record with the team is 5-3 with a 1.76 ERA.

When free agency comes around regardless if the season is played, Yankees should definitely consider re-signing both Tanaka and Paxton to help keep the rotation intact. Severino will not be back till the summer of 2021 and we won’t know whether the young guys will be ready.