Former Toronto Blue Jays free agent hurler J.A Happ is right there for the picking should they so choose to make a pitch for the 36-year old, however, it is going to come at the price of a three-year pact.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported yesterday that J.A. Happ will sign with the first team that is willing to offer that all-important guaranteed third year to the aging pitcher. Happ earned a modest $13 million last season in the final year of a 3-year deal he originally signed with the Blue Jays in the winter of 2015.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that the Blue Jays, Yankees, Reds, Astros, Rangers, and Phillies all have varying degrees of interest in Happ. The Jays will surely have to offer Happ that additional third season to prevent him from returning to a contender if all things are equal.
Happ would be a great calming influence for the Jays young rotation moving forward but at what cost. The southpaw was often seen mentoring young Ryan Borucki in the dugout last season after the rookie got the call to the show.
Last season, Happ was lights out after the Yankees acquired him at the deadline. Happ went 7-0 in 11 starts with an impressive 2.69 earned run average while fanning a batter an inning. He showed no signs of age catching up to him down the stretch and has made more than 30 starts in four of the last five seasons.
Lance Lynn will not cost the Jays nearly as much in terms of dollar amount or term but Lynn also does not bring the same pedigree to the table that Happ does at this stage of their respective careers.
Are the Jays prepared to keep Happ around for another three seasons during a rebuild? Time will tell but the ball is clearly in Ross Atkins court if he is at all serious about bringing Happ back into the fold.