Mariners close to signing Draft holdout

Lots of good stuff today for the Mariners in a 5-4 victory over Texas, though worth noting the Rangers didn’t exactly bring their big guns. Of the six All-Stars on the Rangers, none showed up in Peoria.

But, hey, you take it where you get it and the Mariners remained undefeated in Cactus League play while getting a 3-for-3 performance from Milton Bradley, some nice pitching from Nate Robertson and young Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Dan Cortes … and even a home run from 20-year-old catching prospect Steve Baron.

To cap things off, the club appears close to signing James Paxton, their fourth-round Draft pick last year. He’ll be in Seattle on Wednesday to take a physical in advance of signing with the club, according to the Seattle Times.

The Mariners, who have a policy against commenting on any negotiations still underway, declined to comment on the report.

The 6-foot-4 left-hander was originally a supplemental first-round Draft pick of the Blue Jays in ’09 out of the University of Kentucky, but didn’t sign and then was declared ineligible by the NCAA for using agent Scott Boras while still in school.

The native of Ladner, British Columbia, then pitched Independent League ball and was drafted by the Mariners in the fourth-round last year, but again held out until now.

If he passes his physical and signs, it’s believed he’ll report immediately to the Mariners Major League camp. That doesn’t mean he’s instantly a contender for a big-league job, but it does mean the Mariners coaches and staff will get a chance to see him pitch for a bit as he works his way back into the swing of things.

Hard to know how a guy who has been largely out of baseball for the past two years will respond, but he was a premier prospect at Kentucky and it’ll be a nice coup for Jack Zduriencik and his staff if they can add a potential first-round talent to the system at this point.

1 Comment

Thank you once again for your reporting and thank you SOOOOO much for getting me that update on Paxton. I agree that there is definitely a question mark about how well his command and control will be after his hiatus, but it would be grand if he can regain some or all of his former power and be a real asset to our team. Continue the great reporting and I will continu reading!

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