James Paxton Diagnosed With Lat Strain – MLB Trade Rumors

James Paxton Diagnosed With Lat Strain - MLB Trade Rumors

August 19th: Cotillo tweets that the strain appears to be mild, although Paxton will undergo an MRI to confirm. He is shut down from pitching for the time being.

August 18th: Red Sox lefty James Paxton started a rehab assignment today but left after facing just two batters. This was initially reported to be a lat strength of MassLive’s Chris Cotillowith a manager Alex Cora then telling Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe that Paxton has a lat strain.

cotillo adds that Paxton will see a doctor tomorrow to determine the severity of the issue, but there’s no question that this is a major setback for the pitcher. Today was his first attempt to pitch in an organized game since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of last year. He will still need some time to get up to speed for a rookie’s workload and will now have to push that further down the road. Even a mild lat strain usually requires a 2-3 week recovery period, meaning the southpaw is likely to be sidelined until some time in September even at best.

It’s another disappointing development for Paxton, one of many in recent years, following on the heels of an excellent four-year stretch of performance. From 2016 to 2019, he pitched at least 121 innings in every season, keeping his ERA under 4.00 in every campaign as well. He had a 22.9% strikeout rate in 2016 but has gotten it close to 30% over the last three years of that stretch.

Unfortunately, injuries limited him to just five starts in 2020 and then just a single outing in 2021 before landing on the injured list. Despite two essentially lost seasons, the Red Sox took a chance on him this past winter, hoping he could regain his former form once he returned to health. The contract reflected his uncertain status, with Paxton receiving a $6MM salary here in 2022 while rehabbing. At the end of the year, Boston will have to decide whether or not to trigger two $13MM club options for 2023 and 2024, effectively a two-year, $26MM deal. Should they decline, Paxton will then decide on a $4MM player option for next season.

If Paxton had come through this rehab looking like the solid mid-rotation arm he once was, there would be good reason for the Red Sox to consider triggering his option, especially with Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha scheduled to reach free agency this fall. There is also the uncertainty around Chris Sale, who has thrown fewer than 50 total innings over the past three seasons due to his own injury concerns. However, the longer Paxton remains out of action, the more the needle will move toward the club declining its end of the deal. As for Paxton’s upside, that will also certainly depend on the severity of his injury and whether he thinks he can top $4MM on the open market this offseason.

In the short term, the Red Sox would certainly have liked Paxton to come back and help them with the stretch drive here in 2022, but that looks increasingly unlikely with today’s setback. Boston is currently four games behind Toronto and Tampa Bay for the final Wild Card spot in the American League, with three other clubs between them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.