Yankees Rumors: J.A. Happ interests both Yanks and Mariners

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13: J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 1-0. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13: J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays won 1-0. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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With Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list, the Yankees currently have two rookies in their starting rotation. However, if rumors of interest in J.A. Happ are true, the Yanks’ rotation may soon look different.

A bit of intrigue to begin the new week, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that both the Yankees and Mariners are interested in potentially acquiring veteran left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays. Happ started 20 games for Seattle in 2015 before being dealt to the Pirates.

Morosi gets straight to the point on Twitter, as one of the most significant factors of adding the 35-year-old Happ is that the Red Sox, whom the Yanks and M’s can expect to battle the rest of the way, have a dreadful OPS of .672 versus southpaws.

With Jordan Montgomery likely out of commission until late 2019 — and C.C. Sabathia the only viable left-hander the Yanks can deploy every five days (Justus Sheffield isn’t ready), Happ and his 19.1 innings of playoff experience would be a welcome addition.

Pitching for the third-place Blue Jays (33-38, .465 win percentage) Happ has been one of the few bright spots on a club that already finds itself 15 games out of first place.

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On the year, Happ is 8-3 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.065 WHIP and 94:25 K:BB ratio in 82.2 innings. Though Happ has given up 10 home runs, only one has come against a left-handed hitter, holding them to a .159 BAA. Also, his 46.4 percent ground ball rate and 72.7 LOB percentage would play well at Yankee Stadium.

Happ has been stellar in his last seven starts, going 4-1 with a 3.29 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and striking out one batter per inning. Creating a ton of soft contact along the way, Happ is more than comfortable pitching in the AL East.

Set to enter free agency this winter, the Yankees would only be on the hook for approximately half of the $13 million Happ is set to earn.

Though some will be quick to exclaim the complexities of trading players within the same division, let me point out that the Yankees boast the sixth-best farm system in baseball — whereas this past January, Baseball America ranked the Mariners dead last.

While I don’t expect the Yankees to get crazy in their offer for a starter with over 1430 innings on his arm, adding a reliable vet, capable of attacking the strike zone with regularity is exactly what the Yanks need to make a deep postseason run (as I first wrote about two weeks ago).

No, acquiring Happ doesn’t come with the same type of fanfare that Jacob deGrom or Madison Bumgarner would, but it keeps the majority of the farm system intact, luxury tax threshold met and future payroll plentiful.

Next: Luis Severino continues his Cy Young-worthy season

With third baseman Josh Donaldson likely to be suiting up for a new club next season and a subsequent rebuild commenced, the Blue Jays would be wise to take the better package of prospects, no matter the fact that it’ll come from the Yankees.