MISSING OUT

Yankees land Mariners' Paxton as Astros refuse to give up Whitley, Tucker

Kyle Tucker and pitcher Forrest Whitley are key pieces the Astros want to keep. Rich Schultz

Well that didn’t last long. When all of Houston is hoping for some pitching help for their Astros; a huge domino just fell and well, it’s not good.

The New York Yankees traded for Mariners left handed pitcher James Paxton per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and Corey Brock of The Athletic. James Paxton sitting at a stout 6’4’’ could have mirrored Justin Verlander's resurgence due to one of the best/reteamed coaching staffs in the MLB. Paxton is 30 years old and netted an impressive 30 games pitched in 2018, which included 11 won, 6, lost, 208 strikeouts, 2.9 WAR and an ERA of 3.67. The best geek stat for Paxton... 32% strikeout rate in 2018. The possibilities could have been endless but what done is done.

The Yankees gave up a pretty good haul for the lefthander. The Yanks will send No. 1 prospect, lefthander Justus Sheffield, No. 22 prospect righthander Erik Swanson and outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams.

Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jeff Luhnow was not willing to deal his best prospects (Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley) gutting his minor leagues but with Paxton having two years of arbitration control left its hard not to wonder why he didn’t take the chance. Tucker has drastically disappointed and Whitley is slightly above average at best. Whitley has already proven to be immature with his 50 game suspensions in 2018. Whitley has gone 7-10 in 38 starts with a 3.14 ERA, 163 innings pitched and 239 strikeouts.

Now that Paxton is gone, Noah Syndergaard should bethe  top priority. Although he is up for arbitration in 2019 this should not have the Astros or Luhnow afraid to go for it. He is simply too strong to overlook. Syndergaard went 13-4 with an ERA of 3.03 and a WAR of 4.0. The Pirates tried and failed to trade for him but they also don’t have the farm system that the Astros have. The acquisition may not take much seeing that he will have to get paid soon but that should drive the price needed to acquire him way down. It may not even need to include Whitley. With the departure of this generation's Tom Glavine and Andy Pettitte (Dallas Keuchel) imminent, there is plenty of room for a top arm in the rotation. Do not get me wrong he will be expensive but the Astros should not hesitate to pay him over Keuchel.   

This is nothing new and to date it has worked out for Luhnow. All Astros fans can do now is hope that the plan that Luhnow has on paper can be carried out in real life. He is off to a great start by trading for Blue Jays utility man Aledmys Diaz. Luhnow better hope that Whitley is who he thinks he is.

 

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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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