New York Yankees got What They Traded for in James Paxton

Paxton is hurt, again. And why there are deeper concerns about this injury than just when Paxton can return to the Yankees

Jack Suhadolnik
New York Yankees, James Paxton
Apr 16, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) reacts during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees broke the news that James Paxton was undergoing back surgery to remove a cyst on his spinal column. I wish him a speedy recovery, as learning from my dad’s back problems (shards of ruptured vertebrae lodging into his other vertebrae) that this is no joke. But we got exactly what we traded for in James Paxton, an injury-prone pitcher.

Yes, He Truly is Injury Prone

Last year saw him sidelined for 3 weeks due to a sore knee. We guess it was due to the clay used to make up the mound at Yankee Stadium. He also suffered a glute injury on his final start of the season. But, while listening to the Michael Kay Show on ESPN radio yesterday, this cyst popped up and started bothering Paxton throughout the postseason run the Yankees had. But before he developed this cyst, Paxton was on and off the IL in Seattle for injuries like a strained pec, strained lat, trouble with his forearm and elbow, and a strained tendon in a finger on his pitching hand. I’ve said it before, he’s a seven-year veteran, who has yet to make 30 starts in a season. As long as we hang onto him, we will see him miss several starts per year due to injury.

Do We Really Have Enough Depth?

True, we do have depth at the starting pitching position. But will it be sustainable depth until we get Paxton AND German back?

The New York Yankees are notorious for being overly cautious with their starting pitchers. And that hyper caution resulted in several promising pitchers to completely implode on themselves (Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for starters). Montgomery pitched all of 4 innings last year. Severino will start his first full season since 2018. Happ is hopefully going to be a step above mediocre. Loaisiga and Luis Cessa were average at best as starters for the Yankees, and Devi Garcia may need to adjust his stuff at the major league level. Not to mention the fact Paxton and German will undoubtedly only be back by the All-Star game because they’ll have to throw a few tune-up games in the minor leagues.

We still have Gerrit Cole, is he m and a diminishing regular season Tanaka going to be enough when there are so many question marks surrounding the rotation going into Spring Training?