We all want the Blue Jays to make some pitching additions this off-season. Perhaps adding somebody from the New York Yankees? Maybe a left-handed starter?
Apparently, according to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays have expressed interest in doing exactly that, though it isn’t the Yankee lefty you’re probably hoping for.
Nope, not James Paxton to satisfy your need for CanCon. The Blue Jays have shown interest in old friend J.A. Happ.
Sources: #BlueJays interested in free agent LHP J.A. Happ, who had two prior tenures with the club: 2012-2014 and 2016-2018. Happ, 38, ranked fourth in ERA+ this year among free-agent pitchers who threw at least 40 IP. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2020
Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling mentioned the possibility of the Jays circling back to Happ as a veteran pitching addition last week, so it isn’t all too big of a surprise to see his name mentioned here. Also, it seems the Jays are checking in with literally everyone so this might not mean anything.
Anyways, J.A. Happ, Round Three? Why not, I guess?
This obviously wouldn’t be the top-of-the-rotation upgrade we’re all hoping for, but Happ is still a fairly solid pitcher. As Morosi’s tweet notes, he had the fourth-highest ERA+ in 2020 among the available starters on the free-agent market. And, given his age, he likely won’t command a multi-year deal.
Over nine starts in 2020 for the Yanks, Happ posted a 3.74 ERA with 7.7 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine. That isn’t ace stuff, but it’s also better than what Tanner Roark provided the team last year.
Personally, I don’t hate the idea. I would obviously love to see a top-end addition, but Happ is a quality veteran and you can never have too much pitching depth. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that we had Edwin Jackson going out there every fifth day serving up batting practice simply because there was nobody else to pitch.
Another thing to consider is this year’s pitching market. Trevor Bauer is obviously the top free agent, Taijuan Walker and Jake Odorizzi are both solid middle-of-the-rotation guys, and then, after that, it’s a lot of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Charlie Morton might retire, Masahiro Tanaka and Paxton both come with injury risk, and then you’re suddenly into reclamation projects like Alex Wood, Corey Kluber, and Mike Minor.
All things considered, it might not be exciting, but I wouldn’t complain about Happ on a one-year deal.