Blue Jays Report: Mariners, Yankees Interested in J.A. Happ
According to a tweet from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, both the Seattle Mariners and division rival New York Yankees are interested in left-handed starting pitcher J.A. Happ, per an unnamed source.
It’s official my friends, the rumour mill has started churning. According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees are both interested in J.A. Happ. Happ, who has been excellent so far this season (82.2 IP, 3.48 ERA. 1.065 WHIP, 94 K, 25 BB), is one of the most intriguing rental pieces available during this year’s trade deadline.
While the front office has not explicitly said that they are willing to part with Happ (and other veterans), it seems likely that they’ll sell off some more valuable pieces as the second wild-card spot becomes progressively further out of reach.
Both teams could be interesting fits for the Peru, Illinois native. The Mariners (46-26), are in need of some starting pitching help. With the underwhelming performance of former ace Felix Hernandez and the questionable consistency of journeyman Wade LeBlanc, Seattle seems like a good fit for Happ if Jerry Dipoto and his team are willing to sacrifice the prospect capital necessary to pry Happ away from the Jays.
Also worth noting is that Happ pitched the first half of the 2015 season with the Mariners, pitching to a 4.64 ERA over 108.2 innings, surrendering 56 earned runs while striking out 69.
The Yankees, on the other hand, are a little more complicated. They currently sit tied atop the American League East with a stellar record of 46-21 and are poised to make a deep postseason run this year. They too are in need of starting pitching help, having lost Jordan Montgomery to Tommy John surgery. Additionally, the Yanks’ other starters, most notably Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray, have failed to provide consistent results this year.
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Even though the Yankees look like a good match on paper, it’s always difficult to trade within the division, especially given the sudden dominance of what appears to be the best Yankees team in years. If the Yankees are the highest bidders, then I’m sure the front office will have no problem trading within their own division. The question is: how badly do they need starting pitching?
At this point, it’s nearly impossible to speculate the possible return for trading Happ. One thing’s for sure though – Happ has been great these last few years. Since signing a three-year, $36 million contract a couple years ago, he’s been the poster boy for consistency. Since rejoining the Blue Jays, he’s tossed 423.0 innings, pitching to a 3.36 ERA, with a 1.199 WHIP and 399 strikeouts against 131 walks. He’s recorded 38 wins, including 20 wins in 2016. All in all, he’s been worth 9.6 WAR, according to Baseballreference.com.
Predictably, Happ is one of the most valuable trade assets the Jays have entering the middle of the season. It’s impossible to know for sure what will happen, but it’ll surely be interesting to watch.