James Paxton and the Dodgers lower guarantee to $7 million from $11 million

LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Paxton and the Los Angeles Dodgers reworked their one-year contract, lowering the guarantee to $7 million from $11 million while still allowing the 35-year-old left-hander to earn up to $13 million if he is healthy during the early part of the season and starts at least 20 games.

Paxton's original deal called for a $3 million signing bonus and an $8 million salary. He would have received a $1 million bonus if he was on the active opening day roster, and if Paxton did not earn that bonus he could have triggered a $500,000 bonus if he was on the active roster by April 15. The deal called for $1 million in performance bonuses for starts: $250,000 each for 16 and 18, and $500,000 for 20.

His revised agreement keeps the signing bonus, lowers the salary to $4 million and increases the roster bonus to $2 million if he is on the active roster for the March 20 opener in Seoul, South Korea, or the March 28 U.S. opener. He would get a $1 million bonus if active by April 15 and an additional $1 million if he is on the roster by April 15 and makes 20 or more starts. He could earn $4 million in performance bonuses for starts: $600,000 each for six, eight, 10, 12 and 16, and $1 million for 18.

The restructured contract was first reported by The Athletic. Neither the team nor Paxton's agent, Scott Boras, have explained the reasons for the change.

Paxton was 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA last year in his only season with the Boston Red Sox. He strained his right hamstring during his first spring training start on March 3 and didn’t make his season debut until May 12. Paxton didn’t pitch after Sept. 1 because of right knee inflammation.

Paxton signed an $8.5 million, one-year contract with Seattle ahead of the 2021 season, cut short his first start on April 6 and had Tommy John surgery eight days later. He signed a $10 million, two-year contract with Boston and returned to make seven minor league appearances late in the 2022 season.

Paxton is 64-38 with a 3.69 ERA in 156 starts over seven big league seasons with Seattle (2013-18, 2021), the New York Yankees (2019-20) and Boston.