He’s no longer Jays Ace Happ. Free agent started J.A. Happ is closing in on a deal to remain a New York Yankee.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2018
Happ was one of the most highly-coveted starters on the free agent market this off-season. It seemed that his choice ultimately came down to which team would offer him a third year on his deal which, according ton Ken Rosenthal’s report, ended up being the Yankees.
There was talk about the reunion with the Blue Jays, but it isn’t overly surprising the rebuilding Jays didn’t opt to give Happ a third year to return to Toronto. Instead, I imagine they’ll look for one- or two-year options to flesh out what is currently a shell of a pitching rotation.
The Yankees, having added James Paxton earlier in the off-season, now boast a starting rotation of Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Happ, and CC Sabathia. Dallas Keuchel is still on the open market and there are other names like Zack Greinke and Noah Syndergaard who have popped up in trade talks.
Happ, of course, was traded from Toronto to New York prior to the trade deadline after two-and-a-half very effective years in Toronto. He posted a 2.69 ERA with the Yankees and won seven of his 11 starts. Meanwhile, both Billy McKinney and Brandon Drury figure to be part of the team’s starting 25 this year, though it’s difficult to say whether either will fit with the organization long-term.
When I wrote about Happ being a sensible fir for the Yankees in a trade back in June, I had hoped he would end up returning to Toronto as a free agent. It’s a shame that’s not it went down.
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?
But, fair enough. Happ is 36 years old and is better suited on a winning team than a rebuilding team at this stage in his career.