Rumor has it that the New York Yankees want to dump J.A. Happ on another team, much like they did with Sonny Gray last offseason.
The last thing a New York Yankees pitcher wants is to draw comparisons to Sonny Gray. But that’s one pickle J.A. Happ may not be able to avoid.
Happ, 37, joined the Bombers as a trade deadline acquisition in 2018. He pitched brilliantly, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA, earning a two-year, $34 million deal. New York was even willing to throw in an incentive-based third year for another $17 million.
Just one year in, that contract already appears to be a stain on GM Brian Cashman’s record, right next to the Gray splotch.
In 2019, Happ posted a 4.91 ERA over 31 games. It was his highest mark since 2011 and the second-highest in his entire career. (His one-game 2007 with a 11.25 ERA doesn’t count.)
The Happ expenditure seems especially egregious considering that the incredible Gerrit Cole is now available via free agency.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees may look to move Happ before the 2020 season.
Per Sherman, “One outside executive who believed the Yankees would go for Cole if they could clear salary suggested that the Yankees would try to attach a desirable second piece to Happ and trade him to a starter-hungry team such as the Angels or White Sox, who would not mind the risk of the 2021 option vesting.”
Yankees fans may experience a little déjà vu upon hearing this rumor, and rightly so. Sonny Gray presented a similar situation at the end of the 2018 season.
New York had acquired Gray halfway through the 2017 season. He pitched passably for them that year, but then he self-destructed in 2018, putting up a 4.90 ERA.
Like Happ, that number represents the second-worst output of Gray’s career. Cashman promptly offloaded Gray to the Cincinnati Reds in Jan. 2019.
Happ is this year’s Gray, that’s for sure. Whether the Yankees can shed him as easily as they did Gray is not so clear.