It’s nearly July. You know what that means? Time to slam the sell button.
Joel Sherman, via the New York Post, discussed the possibility of Happ being traded to New York and what it would likely cost the Yankees to acquire him:
A Happ-level starter in his walk year has basically returned two good, but not elite starters. The Yankees will not be alone in trying to land Happ if he is arguably the best starter available. But the way the Yankees are structured gives them ammunition. For their area of organizational depth is now pitching.
Plus, Brian Cashman has in recent years used trades, including at the deadline, to preemptively address 40-man roster issues. The pruning has left the Yankees looking at less clutter this coming offseason. Except for one area: starting pitching.
Chance Adams, Josh Rogers, Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson and Dillon Tate must be put on the 40-man roster this offseason or be vulnerable in the Rule 5 draft, and all but Tate (at Double-A) are already at Triple-A. Prospects Albert Abreu and Domingo Acevedo were added last offseason. The Yankees also must have on their 40: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery (who in the offseason has to be put back on the 40-man from his current 60-day DL designation), Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa.
The second point is the most interesting one. I’m not super familiar with the depths of New York’s system or stuff like their 40-man roster, but Sherman indicates that Brian Cashman has a Rule 5 conundrum ahead of him. Sherman lists prospects Chance Adams, Josh Rogers, Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, and Dillon Tate as prospects not currently on the 40-man who must be added this off-season in order to not be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. This could further motivate the Yankees to deal from a position of strength, which is pitching prospects, to address an area of short-term need, which is high-quality Major League pitching.
Adding to Sherman’s point, from a Jays perspective, bringing on advanced pitching prospects makes a lot of sense. Heading into next season the Blue Jays rotation is Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. Happ is a free agent and may or may not return, same goes for Marco Estrada, and Jaime Garcia has been horrendous and likely won’t have his option picked up. The internal options for fleshing out the rotation are Sam Gaviglio, who has pitched well in the wake of injuries to the big league club, Joe Biagini, if the Jays want to continue down that avenue for some reason, and prospects Ryan Borucki and Sean Reid-Foley, who are currently pitching at Triple-A.
It certainly isn’t an inspiring group. Adding a couple arms from New York system — which features six pitchers in its top seven — would be huge for the Jays as they move forward. Given The Cleveland Boys’ history at the deadline, particularly last summer’s Francisco Liriano deal in which they took on Nori Aoki to get a stud prospect in Teoscar Hernandez, I have faith they’ll be able to pull something very worthwhile for Happ, who’s the best rental arm on the market.