Yankees should prioritize re-signing J.A. Happ this offseason
J.A. Happ has been everything the Yankees could’ve hoped for and more since they acquired him prior to the July 31st trade deadline. Given how much he has thrived thus far as a Yankee the organization should prioritize resigning him this offseason.
Happ has been outstanding since coming to New York and has brought stability to a starting rotation that needed it badly. Following his six shutout innings in Monday night’s win over the Twins, Happ is now 6-0 with the Yankees with a 2.70 ERA in 46.2 innings.
Outside of one bad start against the Tigers on August 30th, Happ has delivered nothing but quality performances every time he has taken the mound. With the way he’s going right now Happ could be the starter the Yankees give the ball to October 3rd when they will likely be playing in the AL Wild Card game for the second year in a row.
Personally, I’d give Masahiro Tanaka a slight edge as the favorite to get that start, but if it’s Happ Yankee fans shouldn’t have much of an issue with it. He’s been that good over the course of eight starts and if he’s not on the mound October 3rd he’d be the guy I want starting Game 1 in Boston if the Yankees can advance to the ALDS.
Happ and the Yankees have unfinished business to get to this postseason but this offseason the veteran left-hander will be a free agent and he should have many suitors looking to sign him. Happ will be 36 in October but he’s coming off an All-Star season and has shown no signs of slowing down so he should be looking a for a multi-year deal from teams this winter.
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We’ll have to wait and see how many years’s he’s looking for on his next contract but the Yankees will certainly be in play to bring him back. Because of Happ’s age, it will be interesting to see what the Yanks will be willing to offer him but if they can sign him to a two or even three-year deal they should do so.
Happ himself talked about the possibility of returning to the Yankees last week and sounded very open to the idea. That’s important because we can assume that the Yankees interest in Happ is mutual and come next season they should have openings available in their starting rotation.
Outside of Tanaka and struggling ace Luis Severino nobody in the current rotation is guaranteed to return next season. Happ, CC Sabathia, and Lance Lynn will all be free agents and Sonny Gray should be a trade candidate this winter.
We can assume that of those four Lynn and Gray will not be back and CC could retire if the Yankees go all the way this season. Even if he doesn’t, Happ is a better pitcher than CC at this point in their respective careers and if the Yankees had to choose who to resign between the two it should be Happ.
As much as Yankee fans love CC you can’t discount what Happ has done since coming over and it sure looks like he still has plenty left in the tank to pitch at a high level for a couple more years. I’m not sure if that’s still the case with CC.
That being said, if Brian Cashman can find a way to bring them both back and still leave that final rotation spot open for Justus Sheffield and Jonathan Loaisiga to compete for I’d be all for it.