Yankees: Latest pitching shuffle indicates JA Happ could be phased out of rotation


JA Happ just had his next start skipped over when the Yankees opted for Jordan Montgomery.

In preparation for the short two-game series against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees have named their starting pitchers for Tuesday and Wednesday. Masahiro Tanaka will, as expected, take the bump in the second game, but the Yanks just seemingly made a change for Tuesday.

JA Happ, who was lined up to start tomorrow’s game vs Atlanta, has ostensibly been skipped over in favor of Jordan Montgomery. What’s even more noteworthy about this move? Happ last started on Aug. 5 and Monty last started on Aug. 6. Tanaka started on the seventh and will pitch on a normal four days of rest.

With Happ being skipped over, has manager Aaron Boone seen enough?

Unlike the rest of the starting rotation, Happ has no excuses. He’s been healthy and has gotten a fair start to the season logging two outings against the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles, but he’s 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA and psychotic 2.14 WHIP in just seven innings of work.

In a shortened season where Happ is working to meet thresholds for his 2021 vesting option, the Yankees can’t afford another disastrous outing from the left-hander, who has been a disappointment since signing a two-year deal with the team after being acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays.

Happ got a pretty good start with the Bombers. In his first 11 games after the trade back in 2018, he went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, which earned him the multi-year contract. But now? Though he’s 19-9, he owns a 4.46 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 44 games (43 starts). Not exactly worth $17 million per year.

What’s even more disconcerting for Happ? The Yankees are off again on Thursday before opening a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx. And you better believe they’re going to pitch Gerrit Cole and James Paxton to kick off Friday and Saturday. Right now Happ is scheduled for Sunday, but that could easily change to give Montgomery the start, followed by Tanaka on Monday.

And when you REALLY think about it, it’s hard to believe they’re saving Happ to face the Rays when that series starts on Tuesday. Of course nothing is even close to official, but don’t be surprised if we see Happ relegated to the bullpen for mop-up work in the near future.