The Red Sox are in agreement with free agent left-hander James Paxton on a one-year, $10 million contract for the 2022 season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal, which is pending a physical, includes a two-year club option and was first reported by Sportsnet 650’s Chad Dey.
Per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the total value of Paxton’s contract could reach $35 million if the Red Sox were to pick up his two-year option for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
Paxton, 33, underwent Tommy John surgery this past April after making just one start for the Mariners in which he allowed one earned run in 1 1/3 innings against the White Sox at T-Mobile Park.
The Canadian-born southpaw was originally selected by Seattle in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Kentucky and later made his major-league debut for the Mariners in September 2013.
After spending the first six years of his big-league career with the M’s, however, Paxton was dealt to the Yankees in exchange for three players at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign.
While donning the pinstripes, Paxton enjoyed a solid inaugural season with the Yankees in 2019, posting a 3.82 ERA and 3.86 FIP to go along with 186 strikeouts to 55 walks over 29 starts spanning 150 2/3 innings of work.
The following year was a different story, though, as Paxton managed to make just six starts for New York before his season prematurely came to a close in late August due to a left flexor strain.
Despite signing a one-year deal to return to Seattle in February, the same discomfort Paxton experienced in his left elbow in 2020 clearly carried over into 2021 since it ultimately required season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Having undergone the elbow reconstruction procedure on April 14, Paxton likely won’t be able to return to in-game action until the later stages of the 2022 season at the earliest
Still, perhaps following a similar timeline they used with Chris Sale this year, the Sox elected to take a chance on Paxton. The veteran lefty operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Paxton — a native of British Columbia — is represented by the Boras Corporation and does not turn 34 until next November.
He also becomes the second significant starting pitching-related addition Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have made via free agency in the last week. Over the weekend, the club announced that they had signed veteran right-hander Michael Wacha to a one-year, $7 million deal for 2022.
Once he passes his physical and his signing is made official, Paxton will bring the size of Boston’s 40-man roster up to 38 players.
(Picture of James Paxton: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)