Could the Yankees keep J.A Happ in the starting rotation?

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

One season is usually not the end-all, be-all for any given player, and that testament is no different for New York Yankees pitcher, J.A. Happ. The former Toronto Blue Jay was traded to the Yankees in 2018, where he posted an impressive 7-0 record with a 2.69 ERA and 1.052 WHIP.

However, last season, he resorted to negative ways, falling out of favor with manager Aaron Boone and plummeting into a seldom-used relief arm. Over 20 outings, Happ logged a 12-8 record with a 4.91 ERA and 1.295 WHIP. His inefficiency across the board was evident, and it has made him a candidate to be traded this offseason.

The Yankees starting pitching rotation is strong:

Signing Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal spelled the end for Happ, but if he would have performed well in 2019, you could justify keeping him and letting a different option go. The issue — Happ is set to earn $17 million next season, a number far too costly for the quality he produced in the most recent campaign.

General manager Brian Cashman is looking to open up more salary cap after the Cole signing, and Happ fits the bill. However, they may retain him.

As I mentioned before, Happ endured one terrible season and is already on the chopping block. Maybe Cashman should be looking to trade Giancarlo Stanton and his massive contract too, by that logic? The argument here is the depth of the starting rotation, but there are two unknowns to consider.

Both Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery are capable of being quality pitchers. Still, the former will likely miss a significant chunk of 2020, and the latter is one-year removed from any live-game action. There’s no guarantee Montgomery will prove useful in the coming season, as bouncing back from Tommy John surgery can be catastrophic for a pitcher, despite the injury becoming a formality in baseball.

If I were to place a bet, it would be that Cashman finds a new home for Happ, but with German and Montgomery entering the 2020 season with question marks on their heads, he could elect to take a safer route and retain Happ for the final year on his contract.