2. Signing JA Happ to a 2-Year, $34 Million Contract
There were so many better pitching options, but the Yankees settled with JA Happ.
This one’s kind of hard to fault the front office for when you look at JA Happ‘s performance after he was acquired via trade. During the second half of 2018, Happ went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts with the Bombers and the team decided to give him a two-year, $34 million deal that could’ve ended up being a three-year, $48 million deal if his 2021 option vested.
Thankfully it didn’t, because Happ’s 2019 season was all anybody needed to see. He registered a 4.91 ERA across 31 games (30 starts), and it’s not his fault. Happ is a career 4.00 ERA pitcher. The Yankees thought that was worth $17 million per season? Maybe it is in some regard, but some would argue not for a soft-throwing lefty entering his age-36 season.
The worst part? That offseason the Yankees could’ve just invested in a much better lefty in Patrick Corbin, who won a World Series title with the Washington Nationals in his first year under contract. He’s much younger and had much more upside. Dallas Keuchel was available. Charlie Morton was available. Michael Brantley was available. Nelson Cruz was available.
ANY of those players would have been a better investment and would’ve lasted longer than Happ, who the Yankees are jettisoning this offseason. It would’ve made more sense for the Bombers to just pay another $106 million for Corbin. They would’ve gotten four more years out of him and would’ve still been able to sign Gerrit Cole.