Despite sweeping the Washington Nationals in a very shocking series that nobody saw coming, the Blue Jays are still going to be sellers come trade deadline time. They’re 15 games back of the division and, more importantly, they’re 13.5 games back of the wild card.
#Yankees and #Mariners both interested in #BlueJays LHP J.A. Happ, source said, and here is one reason why: The AL rival #RedSox have an @MLB-best .813 OPS against RHP but only .672 against LHP. @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 18, 2018
According to Jon Morosi, the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners are both interested in Toronto’s ace.
The Mariners are enjoying a shockingly-good season that could very well end a playoff drought that has gone on since the team’s historic 2001 season. The Mariners are trapped in a division with the Houston Astros, but appear to be on course to take a wild card spot assuming they don’t collapse or the Angels don’t catch fire.
Seattle is already clearly all-in on this season. They made a very early trade with the Rays to acquire Denard Span and Alex Colome and general manager Jerry Dipoto is always fired up at the possibility of making a trade. The Mariners could certainly use J.A. Happ as veterans Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake have been poor this season and Wade LeBlanc doesn’t have any proven track record of success.
The Mariners are familiar with Happ as the Jays traded him to Seattle in a one-for-one swap for Michael Saunders before the 2015 season. Happ, who wasn’t very good in Seattle, got dealt to the Pirates at the trade deadline that season. It was with Pittsburgh’s pitching coach Ray Searage that Happ figured himself out and became the front-of-the-rotation starter that he is now.
Acquiring Happ obviously makes sense for the Mariners, but Seattle has a pretty barren farm system, so I’m not sure it’s a match that makes sense for the Blue Jays. The Mariners have just one prospect in Baseball American’s Top 100, Kyle Lewis who’s off to a slow start to his professional career due to injuries.
A deal with the Yankees, as gross as it might be, makes more sense.
The Yankees’ biggest weakness right now is their starting rotation. Luis Severino has been incredible, CC Sabathia has been good, but Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray have left a lot to be desired. Jordan Motgomery had been pitching well, but he’ll miss the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Domingo German hasn’t been able to capitalize on his opportunity in the No. 5 role.
So, as good as New York’s offence is, rolling with Severino and Sabathia as your one-two punch obviously isn’t ideal.
Another interesting thing that Morosi pointed out above is how the Red Sox have performed against lefty pitching this season. The Sox are crushing righty pitching, but they have just a .672 OPS against left-handers. With Montgomery done for the season, Sabathia becomes New York’s only left-handed starter. Happ, in his only start against the Red Sox this year, tossed seven one-run innings while striking out 10.
Acquiring Happ obviously makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. Given New York’s deep farm system and the presence of some prospects that the Cleveland Boys will be familiar with, it makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays too.
The Yankees acquired left pitcher Justus Sheiffield and outfielder Clint Frazier from Cleveland in exchange for Andrew Miller back in 2016. Both Sheffield and Frazier were first-round picks of the Clevelanders back during the Mark Shapiro days. I imagine if the Yankees are calling about acquiring Toronto’s ace, one of those two is who Shapiro and Ross Atkins will be asking for. That’s a steep ask, of course, but Happ is the best rental pitcher on the market right now.
The first thing that comes to mind when a rumour about a Blue Jays and Yankees trade shows up is “TRADING WITHIN THE DIVISION WHAT THE FUCK???” I don’t really buy into that logic when it comes to a rental. The Jays would be making the Yankees better, sure, which isn’t ideal. But the Yankees are already good. It doesn’t matter if the Jays help them get better. If anything, it should be the Yankees whoa re skeptical of trading a good prospect within the division, not the Jays for trading a rental within the division.
So, yeah. As gross as it would be to watch our beloved Jays Ace Happ toss in pinstripes, the fit is damn near perfect. In a perfect world, the Jays can get themselves a good prospect for Happ and then bring him back in the off-season. We can live with the few months in between, right?