Tommy John surgery has been recommended for Mariners left-hander James Paxton, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. If Paxton undergoes the procedure, he’ll miss the rest of this season and at least some portion of the 2022 campaign.
Paxton began his career with the Mariners, who used a fourth-round pick on him in 2010, though after spending 2013-18 in their uniform, they traded him to the Yankees. But Paxton, 32, returned to Seattle in free agency this past offseason on a one-year, $8.5MM deal. Unfortunately, the Big Maple exited his first (and potentially lone) start of 2021 on Tuesday because of forearm troubles. The Mariners then placed Paxton on the 10-day injured list.
While Paxton has typically pitched well in the majors, evidenced by his 3.59 ERA/3.62 SIERA over 137 appearances (all starts) and 754 2/3 innings, various injuries have haunted him since he entered the league in 2013. He has never thrown more than 160 1/3 innings in an individual season, and he totaled just 20 1/3 frames last year while dealing with back issues and a flexor strain. The Yankees then elected against bringing Paxton back, though he did draw substantial interest from teams on the open market before returning to the Mariners. It doesn’t appear the reunion will be fruitful for either side, however.
The Mariners entered the season with Paxton as a key part of their six-man rotation, but it looks as if they will have to make other plans for the rest of the year. At least for now, Nick Margevicius will take Paxton’s spot in the M’s starting staff, complementing Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, Chris Flexen and Justin Dunn.