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Yankees sign J.A. Happ, designate Parker Bridwell for assignment

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The left-hander will return to the Yankees on a multiyear deal.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Yankees finally landed another starting pitcher on Wednesday, as J.A. Happ is headed back to New York. After a day filled with false starts, Mark Feinsand reports that the Bombers and Happ have agreed to a two-year deal with a vesting option. Joel Sherman notes that the deal is worth $34 million over the two years, and it can max out at $51 million with the option. Ken Rosenthal first had that a signing was close.

Happ, 36, pitched to a 3.65 ERA (3.98 FIP) over 177.2 innings. Upon joining the Yankees at the trade deadline, however, he turned it up another level. He posted a 2.69 ERA (4.21 FIP) down the stretch, and was probably the team’s most consistent starter in the second half. He wasn’t perfect — a 1.41 HR/9 screams problems — but he made a nice impression with the team.

After the trade, Happ expressed how much enjoyed pitching in New York. He mentioned how he was open to a reunion based on his experience in the Bronx.

“I’d hate to get too far into that, but the one thing that I’ll say is, I’ve been impressed since I came over here with how things have worked so far and all the baseball-related things have been a positive,” he told Brendan Kuty back in September. ”So, I think I’d be foolish to cross anybody off the list. But, yes, certainly, judging by how the first month has gone, it would be a place that I for sure would consider coming back if there was interest.”

A three-year deal, as first mentioned this morning, sounded questionable for a starter his age, especially after the Yankees refused to entertain a six-year contract for Patrick Corbin. This contract, however, is more reasonable. Happ has aged rather gracefully, and he makes for a sure thing in the rotation. It’s not a splashy move, but a practical one.

Update 12/17/18: It’s official. The Yankees have signed Happ, and to make room, they designated Parker Bridwell for assignment. You may remember Bridwell from the time the Yankees DFA’d Ronald Torreyes.