Less than 48 hours after acquiring dominant lefty Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees and Brian Cashman immediately pivoted to another American League East southpaw. The Yankees have acquired J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney.
The trade immediately gives the Yankees some stability in the back end of the rotation. Happ has not started in fewer than 25 games since prior to the 2014 season. So far in 2018, he has a 10-6 record and 4.18 ERA. That ERA has been bloated by a rough month of July, where he has a 7.41 mark in four starts. In his career against Boston, Happ is 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA. He’s 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in nine Fenway Park games. He has a career 3.94 ERA at Yankee Stadium, although now he’ll be wearing the pinstripes.
Happ is expected to report to the Yankees tomorrow.
Both pieces heading from the Yankees to the Blue Jays did not have an immediate role with the 2018 Yankees. Drury was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the off-season, and began the season as the starting third baseman. After just eight games, Drury revealed that he suffered from migraines and blurred vision, frequently while playing, but never told anyone. He then missed 71 games before doctors determined that it was a tendon in his neck that was causing the problems. He hit .176/.263/.275 in 18 games with the Yankees prior to the trade. He was named an International League All-Star after hitting .294/.403/.447 for the RailRiders.
McKinney came to the Yankees as part of the haul netted by Cashman in the Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016. He played all three outfield positions and some first base in 54 games for the Yankees AAA team. He hit .230/.294/.502 with 13 home runs in the International League. He was a member of the Yankees 40-man roster and was the team’s 20th ranked prospect.
The trade winds began to swirl earlier this afternoon when RailRiders beat writers first reported Domingo Germán would be moved up to start a day earlier than scheduled, replacing Erik Swanson. At the same time, I noticed McKinney was left out of the lineup against a right-handed starter. Drury has long been rumored to be a trade chip for the Yankees.
Swanson ended up being moved to tomorrow’s start, while Germán made it through 1+ inning before being removed after consultation with the trainers. That’s obviously not great.