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Red Sox reach an agreement with lefthander James Paxton on one-year deal

Before his injuries, James Paxton had emerged as a solid mid-rotation starter.Steph Chambers/Getty

With a lockout looming, the Red Sox appear on the verge of adding another starting pitcher.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox have reached an agreement, pending a physical, with lefthander James Paxton on a one-year, $10 million deal for 2022 that includes a two-year club option for the 2023-24 seasons. If the option is exercised, the deal could be worth as much as $35 million.

The 33-year-old Paxton made just one appearance — pitching 1⅓ innings — for the Mariners in 2021 before having season-ending Tommy John surgery. That followed a 2020 campaign in which the hard-throwing lefthander was limited to 20⅓ innings with the Yankees by elbow woes.


Prior to those injury-riddled seasons, however, Paxton had emerged as a solid mid-rotation starter, forging a 38-17 record and 3.54 ERA with a 30.1 percent strikeout rate while averaging 27 starts and 149 innings with the Mariners and Yankees from 2017-19. He was one of the harder-throwing starting lefties in the AL, sitting at 95-96 m.p.h. with a cutter and curveball that made him a very uncomfortable at-bat for both righties and lefties.

If Paxton follows a normal Tommy John rehab process of 16-18 months, he could emerge as a rotation reinforcement in the second half of 2022, much as Chris Sale did following his return last August from a surgery that took place in March 2020. And if Paxton’s arsenal resembles that which he featured before his elbow woes, he could emerge as part of the team’s longer-term rotation.

Paxton joins Michael Wacha (one-year, $7 million deal) as starters signed by the Sox since lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez left to sign a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers earlier this offseason.

In some ways, with the Paxton deal, the Sox are investing $10 million in a pair of lottery tickets — one on the possibility of a healthy pitcher contributing down the stretch in 2022, the other that he will be healthy enough to make two more years of his services at up to $25 million a worthwhile deal.


If he does not bounce back, the Sox would be able to walk away from the deal after next season without tying up future payroll.

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him @alexspeier.