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    Dodgers set to add lefty James Paxton to starting rotation
    • January 23, 2024

    LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers are putting the finishing touches on a near-complete makeover of their starting rotation.

    The Dodgers are reportedly close to signing free agent left-hander James Paxton to a one-year contract for $11 or $12 million. The deal would also include bonus clauses that could take it higher. The team has not announced the signing officially yet.

    The signing would take the Dodgers’ projected payroll for 2024 past $310 million and into the highest tear of the Competitive Balance Tax.

    The addition of the 35-year-old Paxton means the Dodgers will head to spring training with a starting rotation of Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Walker Buehler (who is expected to join the rotation at some point early in the season), Bobby Miller and James Paxton. Young starters Emmet Sheehan, Gavin Stone and Landon Knack will compete as depth pieces. Paxton is the only left-hander in the group.

    A year ago, the Dodgers opened the season with a starting rotation of Julio Urias, Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard and Michael Grove. Only Kershaw was still starting games at the end of the season. Only May (recovering from elbow surgery) and Grove (likely ticketed for a bullpen role) are still with the Dodgers now.

    With 156 career starts over 10 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Paxton is the most experienced pitcher in this year’s group. But he continues the Dodgers’ well-established willingness to take on pitchers with an injury history.

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    Paxton has made more than 20 starts just three times in those 10 seasons (2017-19). He threw a no-hitter for the Mariners in 2018 but finished the season on the Injured List with a back injury. He eventually underwent surgery and made just five starts during the shortened 2020 season.

    He left his first start of the 2021 season with elbow discomfort and underwent Tommy John surgery which sidelined him until 2023.

    He made two trips to the IL last season (for a hamstring injury and knee inflammation) but went 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 starts. Paxton didn’t finish well. After going 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts before the All-Star break (and winning the American League Pitcher of the Month award), Paxton was 2-4 with a 6.98 ERA in nine starts after the break before ending the season on the IL with the knee issue.

    ​ Orange County Register