Pitching Notes: Paxton, Jays, Thor, McGee, Bass (www.mlbtraderumors.com)

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The Blue Jays were among the teams in on southpaw James Paxton before he agreed to a contract with the Mariners over the weekend. However, Toronto never made a pitch to Paxton (via Gregory Balloch of Sportsnet 650). “They showed a lot of interest, and I had interest too, but they never came forward with an offer,” Paxton said. Paxton was a first-round pick of the Jays in the 2009 draft, but after the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement, he joined the M’s as a fourth-rounder in 2010. The now-32-year-old, who’s known as the Big Maple because of his Canadian roots, will earn a guaranteed $8.5MM in his return to Seattle in 2021.

  • Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard remains on track in his recovery from March 2020 Tommy John surgery, per Tim Healey of Newsday. Barring any setbacks, Thor should rejoin the Mets’ rotation sometime in June or July. Without Syndergaard, they’re slated to open 2021 with Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman and David Peterson as the top four in their starting staff. There isn’t a set fifth member of the group yet, but the team does have interest in free-agent righty Taijuan Walker.
  • Lefty Jake McGee could close games for the Giants this year, manager Gabe Kapler told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and other reporters Wednesday. The 34-year-old McGee, whom the Giants signed to a two-year, $7MM contract last week, has saved 45 games since his career started in 2010, though the former Ray, Rockie and Dodger hasn’t picked up a save since 2018. The Giants went to a closer-by-committee approach last season with five hurlers totaling at least one save, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see McGee join others in finishing games for the team this year.
  • Righty Anthony Bass is the favorite to close for the Marlins, Craig Mish of SportsGrid suggests. Bass signed a two-year, $5MM guarantee with the Marlins last month after a productive season in Toronto, where he notched a 3.51 ERA/4.09 SIERA with a 62.3 percent groundball rate in 25 2/3 innings. He could now be in line to succeed Brandon Kintzler, who closed for the Marlins in 2020 but signed with the division-rival Phillies last week.



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