A hot commodity on the trade market, J.A. Happ’s less than stellar start in Boston probably won’t be enough to turn teams off from wanting to acquire him.
I’ll be frank, it was downright painful to watch J.A. Happ give up that grand slam to Mookie Betts in Thursday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox. After unfairly being forced to face Betts following some sloppy defense and rough calls, Happ engaged in a 13 pitch battle that eventually ended with a Red Sox victory.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons spoke about the at bat, noting that it was “a great battle. You can appreciate it even with the homer, but you could have appreciated it if he’d popped up”. Since arriving in Toronto, Gibby has praised Happ for his composure, poise and confidence on the mound.
Still, it’s unfair to say that Happ’s trade value has been decreased because of that at bat in particular, or rather, because of that entire start. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet seems to share that sentiment, insisting in his newest column that the big lefty will still be valuable come July 31st.
Nicholson-Smith’s column details several destinations for Happ, including the usual suspects, as well as some others who could possibly enter the mix as the All-Star break comes and goes almost as quickly as it arrived.
Happ deserved better against the Sox. Better defense, better offense, better everything really. It all started out so well, he’d retired the first few Boston hitters with ease and looked poised to enjoy another dominant outing against an AL East rival.
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Interestingly enough though, Happ’s ERA was actually lowered by what appeared to be an awful start due to the fact that all five runs he gave up were unearned. So, his final line for the night was: 3.2 IP, 5 R, 0 ER, 6 SO, BB – not terrible, but not great either.
I think I speak for all Jays fans when I say that I sincerely hope that rival evaluators use the above line as their measuring stick instead of the now viral video of Betts launching a homer over the monster in left. While his ERA has risen by almost half a run since the start of July, he still looks good on the mound.
For the season, the Illinois native has pitched to a decent 4.29 ERA in 109.0 innings of work, striking out 121 (11th in the American League) while walking only 35 (19th in the AL among pitchers who’ve worked more than 100 innings). His 10 wins tie him for seventh in the American League, while his WHIP (1.19) is 19th among AL pitchers.
He has value, this we know. How much value has yet to be seen. Multiple reports have linked Happ to the Yankees, Mariners, Brewers and even the Oakland Athletics. Regardless, here’s hoping that Happ can get back on a roll before the trade deadline, as he could easily be the most valuable trade chip on Mark Shapiro’s team when it comes time to deal away some assets.