During our online chat yesterday, a question came up on Seattle Mariners fourth-round draft pick James Paxton and what his status was. I didn't know and said so, but promised to find out.
I found out.
Paxton is the 24-year-old left-hander taken but not signed in 2009 by the Toronto Blue Jays - who lost his final year of college eligibility at Kentucky because agent Scott Boras had negotiated with Toronto. Paxton is suing Kentucky, and last year played for the indepent league Grand Prairie Air Hogs. Now that's a team name.
Taken 37th overall in '09, Paxton's stock dropped to 132nd in the 2010 draft. A 6-foot-3, 215-pounder, Paxton was clocked at 97 mph in college but topped out at 94 mph last season. Still represented by Boras, Paxton hasn't come to terms with the Seattle Mariners, who have until the next June draft to finalize an agreement or lose their rights to him.
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So, what's his status? According to Mariners director of amateur scouting Tom McNamara, the status is quo. The two sides continue to talk, and neither wants to discuss the situation in public.
By not signing with Toronto, Paxton lost the chance to pitch for most of 2009. When he didn't sign with Seattle after the June draft, he lost most of the 2010 season, the Arizona Fall League and the chance to work with Mariners coaches. Maybe that's a Boras negotiating ploy, but it's hard to see how it's benefitting Paxton's career.