Yankees Trade Rumors: New York 'Main Player' for Blue Jays' J.A. Happ

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays' J.A. Happ pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The New York Yankees are reportedly a "main player" on the trade market for Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman

Heyman noted that Happ is "at or near the top" of the Yanks' wish list, and added that they may be the top suitor for his services.

The 35-year-old Happ is in the midst of his 12th MLB season.

In 17 starts during the current campaign, the lefty is 10-4 with a 4.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 110 strikeouts over 102.2 innings.

Per Baseball Reference, Happ's Field Independent Pitching is 3.65, which suggests he has been on the receiving end of some bad luck this season.

Happ's 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings represent his best strikeout rate in a season where has made more than one appearance as well.

The Yankees are in desperate need of some starting pitching since there are few certainties in their rotation aside from Cy Young candidate Luis Severino.

Masahiro Tanaka is on the disabled list with two pulled hamstrings, while Jordan Montgomery is out for the season due to Tommy John surgery.

Sonny Gray is struggling mightily this season, and the Yanks are currently using a pair of unheralded youngsters in their rotation in the form of Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga.

CC Sabathia is performing well for the Bronx Bombers with a 5-3 mark and 3.02 ERA, but at nearly 38 years of age, he can't necessarily be counted on to keep that up through October.

The Yankees are very familiar with Happ since he has spent parts of six seasons with the AL East rival Blue Jays.

That includes a 2016 season in which he went 20-4 and finished sixth in the American League Cy Young voting.

Happ also has 10 outings of postseason experience to his credit, including three starts. In those appearances, he is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA.

The veteran southpaw would be a rental since he is eligible for free agency during the offseason, but for a Yankees team that has a stacked lineup and more than enough talent to compete for a World Series, trading for him would seemingly be a wise move due to his consistency and ability to potentially lock down the No. 3 or 4 spot in their rotation.