Having the best piece at a trade deadline is an interesting, encouraging, and distressing prospect for a major league baseball team. Despite his recent struggles, J.A. Happ is still the best starting arm available at the trade deadline this year.
Many Blue Jays fans are faced with taking sides on this controversial issue. To help everyone make an informed decision, I found the closest comparable to last year’s trade market for the left-hander.
Yu Darvish was traded on the deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers by the Texas Rangers. The Japanese Phenom netted the Rangers three prospects in return: Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy, and Brendon Davis. In terms of system ranking, these were the Dodgers fourth, seventeenth, and twenty-seventh overall prospects.
The Blue Jays are in the same spot the Rangers were in last year, and they should cash in on this opportunity. Before his blow-up against the Yankees, Happ was a few points off of Darvish’s ERA, FIP, and K/9. As well, like the Blue Jays pitcher, Darvish was the top pitching option available on the market. Thus it’s reasonable to assume that the Jays could net a similar return for their left-handed hurler’s services, even if Happ doesn’t have quite the career resume.
So far, the Blue Jays have been connected to the Yankees, Mariners, Cubs, and Brewers in J.A. Happ trade talks. Obviously each farm system is different, so each deal would not be exactly the same. However, just to give a sense of what each team would provide, here are four sample trades using the Darvish trade model.