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.
In exchange for adding J.A. Happ to the 40-man roster, the Yankees have DFA’d RHP Parker Bridwell, who they claimed off waivers in late November.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) December 17, 2018