Earlier today, the Yankees agreed to a deal with the Blue Jays to acquire J.A. Happ in exchange for Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney. Tyler covered the breaking news here, but I have some further thoughts.
Heading into the season, the Yankees’ weakest link was the rotation. It feels like that has been the area where the Yankees have needed the most help for years now. Try as he might, Brian Cashman was unable to bring in any help during the offseason. Instead, the 2018 season started with the same five pitchers who rounded out the rotation at the end of 2017.
At the time, that was okay, but not great. Injuries quickly piled up though. Jordan Montgomery went down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Masahiro Tanaka was forced to miss a month with double hamstring strains. The team had to fill those holes with Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Luis Cessa. German put together a handful of terrific outings, but was largely terrible. Loaisiga was unable to provide the Yankees with any length, and quickly suffered an injury of his own.
Meanwhile, Sonny Gray has been beyond awful. His most recent outing aside, Tanaka has struggled, too. The Yankees clearly needed any pitching help they could get. Enter: J.A. Happ.
This is not a particularly compelling trade, then again, Cashman wasn’t faced with any satisfying options. The starting pitching market is weak, and the Yankees had to make due. Happ was probably the best pitcher available. Although that isn’t saying much, he has pitched better than the combination of German/Loaisiga/Cessa, and he should represent a marginal improvement. At the very least, he can eat innings.
Word on the street is that the Yankees originally thought the Blue Jays’ asking price was too high, so Toronto lowered it some. It seems like a fair trade for both sides. Sure, the Yankees lose Drury and McKinney for a three-month rental, but did they even have a place on the club? It made sense for the team to grab Drury when they were unsure about Miguel Andujar. However, the rookie came out swinging, and Drury spent most of his time in Triple-A because the Yankees didn’t need him. There was a time early on when the Yankees did need McKinney as a backup outfielder, but now that everyone is healthy there is no clear path to the majors for him either.
Adding Happ feels underwhelming, and I think all Yankees fans can agree that we’d rather have seen Cashman pull an ace out of nowhere. Unfortunately, the starting pitcher tree was quite bare. At least the price was relatively cheap. And hey, there’s still time for Cashman to make a Ninja Cash move before the deadline passes.
What do you think of the deal? Let us know in the comments.