According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ is at the top of the New York Yankees wish list heading into the final three weeks before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline.
There have been a plethora of rumours swirling around J.A. Happ as the pitcher is poised to hit free agency at the completion of the 2018 campaign. The Yankees, Mariners and most recently the Brewers have all been mentioned in the same breath as the hurler.
Happ and fellow southpaw Cole Hamels appear to be the two most sought-after commodities heading into the deadline from a pitching standpoint. The major difference between the two is that Hamels is owed $23,5000 for 2018 with a vesting option that includes a $6 million dollar buyout for 2019. Happ is earning a rather pedestrian $13 million this season with no buyout attached to his contract.
It will be interesting to see if the Blue Jays squeeze the Yankees to pay a premium seeing it would be a rare inter-divisional trade and the Bronx Bombers are neck and neck with the Red Sox who Happ limited to one-run earlier in the season while fanning 10.
Happ has been the Jays most consistent starter all season long although he did just get scorched for seven runs versus the Tigers in his last start after beating the World Champion Astros previous to that. The 35-year old sports a 10-4 record with a 4.03 earned run average and a 9.6 SO/9 rate thus far this season.
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The Jays are on the cusp of a firesale and could include more than just Happ in the deal if the Yankees are also in the market for a reliever. The likes of John Axford, Tyler Clippard, and Aaron Loup could all see themselves pitching for a new team before the July 31st deadline.
By my count, the Yankees have three prospects in the updated MLB Top 100 Prospect rankings in Estevan Florial (37th), Justus Sheffield (39th) and Albert Abreu (61st). However pitching prospects Chance Adams, Luis Medina and Freicer Perez are all interesting talents and the Jays attempt to rebuild their arms on the farm.
Who knows where the chips will eventually fall but right now all signs point to the Yankees being the favourite in the Happ sweepstakes. Stay tuned!