Former New York Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ announced his retirement from MLB at age 39. He pitched 15 seasons in the Big Show and made his decision public during an appearance on the Heart Strong Podcast with Jessica Lindberg (link to MLB Trade Rumors article here).
The veteran left-hander, who pitched for the Yankees in parts of three seasons (2018-2020), went “back and forth for pretty much the whole winter” trying to decide whether he wanted to return for another season or call it a career, which he ended up doing.
“It got to the point where it was Opening Day, and I turned the first game on, and I talked to my wife, Morgan, and I said ’What are you feeling?’ She just kind of looked at me and said, ’A little anxiety.’ I wanted to turn it on to see what I felt, too, and I didn’t maybe feel what I needed to feel in order to think I wanted to keep doing this. I felt like that was a sign, like ’OK, it’s time to go’,” he said.
He was a member of the Yankees rotation from 2018 to 2020
Happ was traded to the Yankees in 2018 and that year, he posted a terrific 2.69 ERA in 63.2 frames. The wheels fell off in 2019, when he finished at a disappointing 4.91 ERA in 161.1 innings. He was decent in 2020, with a 3.47 ERA in 49.1 innings, but the Yankees opted not to bring him back for 2021.
“Even though I had put the work in to be ready if the right situation came, I felt like it was time to move on and be a dad and dive into the kids. … It was emotional — something I didn’t expect. I called my agent that day, right after we turned that game on, and said, ’I think this is it.’ I told the people I feel like I needed to tell. I think I’m still processing it, but I do wake up feeling good about it, and I’m happy to start the process of being a full-time dad, for the time being, at the very least,” he confessed.
Even though some Yankees fans don’t particularly like him, he did have a good career, with a 133-100 record, a 4.13 ERA and 1,661 strikeouts in 1,893.2 innings.
He pitched for eight teams, reached the postseason six times, won a World Series in 2008, and made more than $97 million in his career.