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James Paxton Acquisition Puts Yankees into Top 3 World Series Contenders

James Paxton goes into his windup.
James Paxton is the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter in Canada. Photo by: hj_west (flickr) [CC License]
  • The Yankees have improved their odds of winning the 2019 World Series after acquiring LHP James Paxton from the Mariners
  • Can Paxton help the Bronx Bombers slip past the Red Sox in the ultra competitive AL East?
  • Is New York done tinkering with its starting rotation? 

October may have belonged to the Red Sox, but November belongs to the Yankees.

New York has seen its odds to win the 2019 World Series improve across a number of top online sportsbooks this month. The Bronx Bombers presently sit at +740 after closing out October at +800. You can see a complete history of their movement at our 2019 World Series Odds Tracker.

2019 World Series Odds at Bovada

Team Odds to Win the World Series at Bovada on 11/20/18
Boston Red Sox +600
Houston Astros +650
  New York Yankees +800
Los Angeles Dodgers +900
Chicago Cubs +950

The Yankees’ improved odds can be attributed to their acquisition of left-handed pitcher James Paxton, whom they picked up from the Seattle Mariners on Monday afternoon for a trio of highly-rated prospects. The 30-year-old went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA last season, and finished ninth in the American League in strikeouts.

Paxton’s numbers may not jump off the page, but the 6’4″ hurler can hang with the best of ’em. That became apparent on May 8th when he threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays. Paxton is just the second Canadian-born player to throw a no-no, and the first to do so in his native country.

It’s unclear whether Paxton will be the Yankees’ Opening Day starter, but one thing is certain: anyone who’s unfazed by a bald eagle landing on their shoulder will have no problem handling the added scrutiny of pitching in New York.

James Paxton Statistics

Year Record ERA SO
2013 3-0 1.50 21
2014 6-4 3.04 59
2015 3-4 3.90 56
2016 6-7 3.79 117
2017 12-5 2.98 156
2018 11-6 3.76 208

Paxton will join a rotation featuring Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia, whom the Yankees re-signed to a one-year, $8 million contract on November 7th. It remains to be seen who will fill out the final two spots, but New York is considering bringing back JA Happ, who went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA after being acquired from the Blue Jays on July 26th.

The club is also rumored to be interested in free agent pitcher Patrick Corbin. The two-time All-Star went 11-7 with a career-low 3.15 ERA last season with the Diamondbacks and finished fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting. Like Paxton, his record isn’t eye-popping, but Corbin finished second in the National League in Fielding Independent Pitching, a stat that speaks volumes about his superb control.  The 29-year-old grew up rooting for the Yankees and is widely regarded as one of the best lefties on the market.

Another player who has been linked to the Yankees is former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. The Tulsa native has lost some of his luster over the past two seasons, but stealing him away from the 103-win Astros would represent a major coup. He’s fresh off his fourth Gold Glove award and would do wonders for the Yankees’ spotty infield defense.

Are the Yankees Baseball’s Best Bet?

Baseball is better when the Yankees go all-in, but there’s a big difference between winning the offseason and winning the World Series. New York has made plenty of noise in November, but the Bronx Bombers still remain firmly behind the Red Sox, who are coming off of an historic 108-win campaign and will have largely the same roster as 2018.

There’s a big difference between winning the offseason and winning the World Series.

Keep an eye on the Yankees as they wine and dine free agents in December and January, but consider making your World Series wager closer to April when the winter wheeling and dealing is done.

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Ryan Murphy began his love affair with sports journalism at the age of nine when he wrote his first article about his little league baseball team. He has since authored his own column for Fox Sports, and now serves as SBD’s resident NBA and MLB expert.