How the Yankees Could Move JA Happ’s $17 Million Contract

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

The biggest contract on the payroll for the New York Yankees in 2020 isn’t Gerrit Cole belongs to JA Happ. Happ was pedestrian last year, but he still has one more year worth $17 million, with a $17 million 2021 worked into the contract if he hits certain benchmarks in 2020. Not many people are jumping at the chance to pick up a near 40-year-old lefty, who was quite bad last season. But an opportunity still exists for the Yankees to move Happ. If they want to get creative.

Look to the Mets

When the Seattle Mariners traded Cano to the Mets last season, it was to dump the $24 million season to season Cano is scheduled to get through 2023. So how did Seattle sweeten the deal, making it an easier pill for the Mets to swallow? Throwing in Edwin Diaz. Diaz is still working under a contract where he’ll be controlled through arbitration until 2023. The Yankees could sweeten the deal by attaching a young, controllable pitcher to JA Happ.

Who Could the Yankees Attach?

Deivi Garcia needs an opportunity to show his worth in the Bronx, first and foremost. Jonathan Loaisiga could sweeten the deal just enough, as he’s controlled through 2025. I’ve made the case that Albert Abreu has a more promising future as a reliever in the bigs than as a starter, and Abreu’s arbitration clock hasn’t even begun yet. Eventually, some of these men will have to be moved due to Rule 5 draft stipulations. And wouldn’t you rather try to get something out of losing these guys rather than losing them due to MLB regulations?

But, hanging onto Happ has its advantages currently. He could rebound to be a serviceable pitcher to fill in for Domingo German as he serves his suspension. But, unless Happ proves himself by the trade deadline, that’s the Yankees most realistic chance to dump Happ’s contract.

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