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Royals have their eyes on Mariners prospect James Paxton

Oct 27, 2012, 4:02 PM EDT

James Paxton Getty Images

While he’s a step down from fellow Mariners prospects Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen, James Paxton is regarded by many to be among the minors’ top 20 or so pitching prospects. He’s also the one of the trio working in the Arizona Fall League right now, and the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker noted several Royals scouts watching him recently.

Paxton, 23, went 9-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a 110/54 K/BB ratio in 106 1/3 innings for Double-A Jackson this year.  He pitched well in his first two AFL starts before struggling his last two times out. Overall, he has a 6.75 ERA and a 14/6 K/BB ratio in 10 2/3 innings.

Baker speculates that the Mariners would view Paxton as expendable if the right big-league hitter came along. And the Royals are likely in the market for a hitting-for-pitching deal. Still, there’s no obvious fit here. Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez and top prospect Wil Myers are all clearly more valuable commodities than Paxton, and the Royals lack players from the next tier. They do have Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain, but they’re not the kind of power hitters the Mariners are looking for.

Perhaps there would be some potential for a bigger deal. The Royals could use a second baseman, and the Mariners have three guys who could well be most valuable at second in Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin. They’re content to use Seager at third and they haven’t given up on Franklin at shortstop, but if they’re willing to pair someone from that group with Paxton, it would seem to bring the bigger Kansas City talents into play. Butler for Seager and Paxton could work out well for both teams.

  1. manifunk - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    “Butler for Seager and Paxton could work out well for both teams.”

    That leaves the Mariners with no third baseman in a market with no third basemen. That, uh, would not work out well in the slightest for the Mariners.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Trade for A-Rod. Duh.

      They do have Liddi, but yeah, I’m not a fan.

      • marinersnate - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM

        “Trade for A-Rod. Duh”

        No. Thank you.

        We already have an ex-Yankee RH platoon DH who can neither play the field nor hit RH pitching. Can’t expect us take all their garbage off their hands- especially at A-Rouds price.

      • naliamegod - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        Liddi is probably a nice bench player at most at this point.

        The trade also fails because the Mariners already have a huge glout of 1B/DH type players. They don’t need another one.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:23 PM

        The Mariners have one first base/DH type they really need to be thinking about, and that’s Montero. No one else is a piece they need be worrying about blocking, assuming they want to contend in 2013.

        If they’re fine with another 70-win season, then sure, give Smoak and Carp more chances. They can even pretend that Peguero is more than a poor man’s Balentien.

      • naliamegod - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

        John Jaso also fits in that clout, and he’s probably the best hitter on the team. In fairness, one of the two catcher/DHs will probably be a full time catcher, but you still are stuck with the roster having two DHs who can’t field at all. No it is not a good deal in either way.

        In contrast, the Mariners have exactly one outfielder on the roster who they can expect to actually be a decent starter next year (Saunders). If they are going to trade any of the big pitching prospects, it’ll probably be for an OF or some other guy who can field.

  2. ibleedroyalblue - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Please, please leave Billy out of ALL trade talk. My heart can’t take it.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      That’s what I’m curious about. Butler is the fan favorite, but he’s also the most expensive and he doesn’t have any defensive value. So, Royals fans, who would you rather see moved if someone needs to go for pitching? Gordon, Butler, Moustakas, Myers or Hosmer?

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM

        Moustakas. Gordon and Butler are established above-average big leaguers, both posting at least 2+ season’s worth of production. They also have club-friendly deals. We don’t know what Myers is yet, but he’s obviously got a ton of upside and done everything you’d ask on the farm. Also, Myers is a great fit for the big league squad soon, as we have a gaping hole in right field. Hosmer had a great rookie year, tons of obvious talent, is 22 years old, and let’s just cross our fingers his sophomore year was a fluke.

        Moustakas, on the other hand, really struggles against lefties. While he’s shown pop, he runs so hot and cold all year. He seems very streaky and has never been pegged to hit for a high average. Add in the struggles against lefties, and he’s the obvious trade candidate in my opinion.

      • mattyflex - Oct 29, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        Coming in late here, and I am sorry, but as a lifelong Royals fan, there has never in the history of this ballclub been a more expendable talent than Billy Butler, and there has never been a better time than now to move him. Royals fans do indeed love them, but they also love their young guys, and Gordon is going to win his second consecutive gold glove this year, plus he was a first round pick and the organization was very patient in waiting for him to come around. That’s part of “trusting the process” :\

  3. ibleedroyalblue - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I wish I had the magic answer. But if I had to pick one….. Hosmer I guess. Tough decision.

  4. ibleedroyalblue - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Okay not Hosmer I’ve changed my mind. We need him at first base. I don’t know who!!!!

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      My feeling is that Gordon, Myers and Hosmer have more trade value than Butler and Moustakas. If the Royals thought Myers could play third base, then Moustakas would be the one to trade, even though his perceived value probably isn’t what it was a year or two ago.

      I won’t even list Perez, because I imagine he’s completely off limits.

  5. proudlycanadian - Oct 27, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Paxton has a long term handicap. His agent is Boras.

  6. jdd428 - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Cain may not be a true power hitter, but he has more pop than you might think.

  7. swu32733 - Oct 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    The scariest part of a Mariner trade is that Trader Jack will be doing the trading. Please leave Seager right where he is.

  8. kcrobert10 - Oct 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Royals need pitching that’s MLB ready not kids who are two or three yrs away. In my opinion u want to talk major prospects let’s start with king Felix please.

  9. geoknows - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Ok, let’s see…Based on how Baker describes the game and looking at the play-by-play of those games that Paxton has pitched in the AFL, it’s clear that the game took place on October 9. Paxton’s Peoria team played Surprise that day. And guess whose prospects play for Surprise? The Royals.

    Yeah, right, the Royals had their scouts at their own game. A very common occurence. Ergo, they are there to scout the opposing pitcher – somthing they would do at any game they attend anyway. Correlations does not necessarily imply causation. Baker is reading something into nothing.

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