Two AL East foes have shown interest in former New York Yankees pitcher JA Happ — the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Happ, 38, spent the last two and a half seasons with the Yankees. The team acquired him from the Blue Jays prior to the 2018 trade deadline, and unfortunately, never panned out. Although he pitched well in the back half of the 2018 season (a 2.69 ERA in 63.2 innings), his output in the two seasons after wasn’t what was expected of him in his new deal.
Before the 2019 season, the Yankees inked him to a two-year, $17 million deal with a vesting option for 2021. Happ turned in a 4.91 ERA in 2019, seeing his velocity and effectiveness dip. His WHIP stood at 1.295 while allowing nearly nine hits and two home-runs per nine innings.
After a rough start in 2020, Happ finally settled in an had a few really good outings. He finished with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.054 WHIP, ending as one of the Yankees most consistent pitchers.
Unfortunately for Happ, he didn’t meet the requirements for his vesting option. With the pandemic-shortened season, he needed to make ten starts, but fell just short of that number at nine.
That makes him a free-agent this winter, and he’s drawing significant interest despite his age. The Yankees don’t seem interested in Happ, but he could fit well in Boston and Toronto.
Both teams aren’t really postseason-caliber, and could use starting pitching. Happ is familiar with Toronto, being that he’s played there before. Additionally, he’s been really solid at Fenway Park over his career, making Boston a good possibility for him.
There’s a good chance JA Happ will pitch in the AL East in 2021, but it likely won’t be with the Yankees.