New York Yankees: JA Happ signs deal with the Minnesota Twins

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ
Jun 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Minnesota Twins have signed former New York Yankees pitcher JA Happ to a one-year deal.

Happ, 38, came to the Yankees in the middle of the 2018 season in a trade involving Brandon Drury. The left-hander pitched well for the Yankees in the second half of the season, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.052 WHIP.

That off-season, the Yankees signed Happ to a two-year, $34 million deal with a vesting option for 2021.

Unfortunately, the signing never really panned out for the Yankees. Happ’s 2019 season saw him with an ERA near 5.00 with a 5.22 FIP and a 1.295 WHIP. His velocity began to dip, and his spin rates decreased, but he managed to muster out 12 wins with significant run support.

With the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, Happ needed to make 10 starts to meet his vesting option with the Yankees. He started the season getting skipped in the rotation multiple times and struggling the times that he would pitch. But once the injury bug struck the Yankees again, Happ started games regularly, and he performed well.

Happ made nine starts on the season and finished with a 3.47 ERA and 4.57 FIP. His stats are skewed due to allowing eight runs in his first seven innings of the season.

Since Happ made just nine starts, he could not meet his vesting option with the Yankees and became a free agent. He’ll go to a Twins team looking for pitching support to put the team in a position to win the AL Central.  In Minnesota, Happ should be able to make starts regularly and prove that he still has something left in the tank.