The New York Yankees struggled in 2018 with their pitching rotation; lacking consistency and efficiency when going into their starting depth. Moving forward, they will look to bolster the unit exponentially through free agency, as well as the trade market. The Yanks have already added James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for top prospect Justus Sheffield.
As Mr. Corbin has gone to Washington, GM Brian Cashman will need to look elsewhere to help bolster the rotation. Perhaps it’s time for a reunion with a recent Yankee to HAPPen.
J.A. Happ: LHP
2018 Stats (TOR & NYY):
17-6, 3.65 ERA, 31 Starts, 193 SO, 177.2 IP, 1.131 WHIP, 3.4 WAR
Okay, corny name puns aside, a reunion with J.A. Happ could be a possibility for the bombers. The veteran southpaw was traded for at the non-waiver trade deadline after being more or less the ace of a Toronto Blue Jays team that was dealing with injuries to Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, along with Marco Estrada struggling for the second straight year. His efforts with Toronto saw him earn his first career All-Star nomination.
Despite starting his career in pinstripes on the disabled list with Hand foot and mouth disease, he would go 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Yankees. Unfortunately for the bombers, Happ imploded in Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston, giving up five Earned Runs in only two innings on the way to a 3-1 series win for the eventual World Series Champions.
Similarly to C.C. Sabathia, Happ would provide veteran leadership, both on the mound and in the clubhouse. In an era where teams go to their bullpens earlier in the game than ever before, Happ would be a vital innings eater for whoever signs him. Since 2014, he has pitched less than 150 innings only once (145.1 IP in 2017). He finished 2018 with a career-high 193 strikeouts and a 9.8 K/9 ratio.
There is the question of how long a team would want to commit to someone like Happ, who turned 36 in October. So far, he’s shown that he can pitch in New York and doesn’t seem ready to submit to Father Time just yet.
Contract Prediction: 2 years, $20-$25 million, option for a third year