The New York Yankees have landed the rotation help they've been trying to acquire since the offseason.
OFFICIAL: The Yankees have acquired LHP J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for INF Brandon Drury and OF Billy McKinney.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) July 26, 2018
Happ, 35, is widely believed to be the best starting pitcher who will be moved before the deadline. A free agent at season's end, thus far this season he's posted a 4.18 ERA (101 ERA+) and 3.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20 starts. He's scuffled recently, allowing at least five runs in three of his last four outings.
Nonetheless, the Yankees are banking on Happ's recent track record as an above-average starter. From 2015-17, Happ accumulated a 3.43 ERA (122 ERA+) and 3.02 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Earlier this year, he made his first career All-Star Game. New York's rotation depth chart looks something now that the trade is finalized:
- Luis Severino
- Masahiro Tanaka
- CC Sabathia
- J.A. Happ
- Sonny Gray
- Jordan Montgomery (out for the season with Tommy John surgery)
- Luis Cessa
- Domingo German
Cessa and German had be filling in as the fifth starter since Montgomery went down in May. Happ now takes over that rotation spot and, if nothing else, figures to provide more innings and a little more consistency. The Yankees had been hoping to shake loose a true impact starter with multiple years of control prior to the deadline -- Jacob deGrom would've been ideal -- but that pitcher just is not available.
As for the Blue Jays, they have started their trade deadline sell-off. Happ is on his way to New York and Seung-Hwan Oh . Others like Tyler Clippard, Marco Estrada, Aaron Loup, and John Axford could be on the move before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline as well.
Drury, 25, went from the Diamondbacks to the Yankees in a spring training trade and was the team's Opening Day third baseman. He landed on the disabled list with migraines and blurry vision shortly thereafter and rookie Miguel Andujar seized the third base job. Drury's spent his time at Triple-A and on the MLB bench since.
So far this season Drury has hit .176/.263/.275 with one home run in 18 MLB games and .294/.403/447 with five home runs in 55 Triple-A games. He is a third baseman by trade but does have experience at first and second bases, as well as left field. With Josh Donaldson still sidelined, Toronto could slot him in as their regular third baseman for the time being.
McKinney, 23, is well-traveled former first round pick. He went from the Athletics to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija trade and from the Cubs to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Now he goes to the Blue Jays. McKinney is hitting .230/.294/.502 with 13 home runs in 54 Triple-A games so far this season. He went 1 for 4 in two MLB games earlier this year.
The Yankees have now added Happ and Zach Britton to fortify their pitching staff, though they might not be done with their deadline shopping. Gary Sanchez . The Yankees could scour the market for a catcher to help fill-in while Sanchez out.