Tag: J.A. Happ

Yankees Agree With J.A. Happ on Two-Year Deal

The 2019 New York Yankees starting rotation is starting to come into focus, as the team has agreed with veteran left-hander J.A. Happ on a two-year, $34-million deal that would bring him back to the Bronx. The deal also contains a vesting option for the 2021 season based on innings pitched.

Happ came to the Yankees in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney ahead of the 2018 Trade Deadline. He pitched lights-out for 11 starts in pinstripes, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA (4.21 FIP) as the team captured their second consecutive home-field spot in the Wild Card game.

“He was a performer; took the ball every five days,” Cashman said. “He was a competitor, came as advertised, a real pro. He had a veteran presence within that clubhouse, knew exactly what was necessary and brought it every five days in the most competitive division in all of baseball and the world. He checks all the boxes on that side of it.”

The playoffs were a different animal, though. Happ made just one start, lasting two innings and allowing five earned runs in Game 1 of the American League Division Series in Boston. The big blow in that game was a three-run home run by J.D. Martinez.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that the two sides were in agreement on a deal with three guaranteed years, though he walked that report back to say they were simply gaining momentum.

Happ had also been courted by the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, both teams he has pitched for in the past. The Phillies were hesitant to give Happ more than two guaranteed years, and it appears his recent familiarity with the Bronx plus the prospect of the vesting option prompted his return.


The Yankees may not be done in their pursuit of a starting pitcher, as injuries and ineffectiveness typically rear their ugly heads over the course of a 162-game season. They learned that the hard way when Jordan Montgomery went down for 18 months after just six starts because of Tommy John surgery in 2018.

The team wound up getting 24 starts from Chance Adams, Luis Cessa, Domingo Germán and Jonathan Loáisiga combined, and the team went 12-12 in those games. Sonny Gray, who was acquired to anchor the top of the rotation, started in 12 Yankees losses and was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Lance Lynn after August 1.

“It doesn’t mean we would be out of the market altogether. Obviously the Paxton acquisition gave us the ability to be a lot more disciplined and patient,” Cashman said. “If we pull down another one it will put us in a much stronger position to feel better about the rotation. But that doesn’t preclude us to being open-minded about any options that develop over time.”

With the acquisition of James Paxton and agreement with Happ, the Yankees find their starting rotation in exponentially better shape than last year.

Martino: Yankees in “Preliminary Talks” With J.A. Happ

The Yankees would love to have the veteran lefty back in the Bronx.

J.A. Happ, one of the arms that the Yankees and Brian Cashman would like back in the Bronx next season, is currently in “preliminary talks,” reports SNY’s Andy Martino. Jon Morosi of MLB.com corrborated the report, and also indicated Toronto had also reached out as well.

This really isn’t a surprise, as the Yankees have expressed public interest in bringing the veteran lefty back after an incredible 11-start run with a 2.69 ERA to end the regular season. He came to the Yankees in a deadline deal that saw Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney traded to Toronto.

Overall in his career, Happ owns a 109-82 record and 3.90 ERA (4.10 FIP). MLB Trade Rumors predicts the 36-year-old will end up with a 3-year, $48 million deal from the Los Angeles Angels.

 

Yankees 4, Red Sox 5: Missed Opportunities Haunt Yanks

The Yankees almost came all the way back on the shaky Boston bullpen, but 5⅓ innings from Red Sox ace Chris Sale did the job.

J.A. Happ was not his dominant self against the Red Sox, allowing four hits and five runs over two innings, striking out two and walking one.

The Yankees got two runs in the sixth on a Luke Voit RBI single and Didi Gregorius RBI fielder’s choice. Both hits came off Ryan Brasier, but the runs were charged to the already-departed Sale.

Voit got another RBI in the seventh on a fielder’s choice that scored Andrew McCutchen off Matt Barnes. The Yanks pulled to within one when Aaron Judge smacked an opposite-field solo home run off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.

The bullpen was solid, with Chad Green, Lance Lynn, Zach Britton and David Robertson recording six innings of shutout relief after Happ departed.

ALDS Game One: Battle of the Lefties

With the wildcard firmly in the rearview mirror, the Yankees turn their focus to their opponent in the best of five American League division series: the Boston Red Sox.

Two lefties with track records of mowing down their respective opponents tonight are set to battle in game one from Fenway Park. J.A. Happ, who came to the Yankees via trade, has been dominant since putting on the pinstripes and has always pitched well in Boston. Since joining the Yankees, Happ has gotten the win in seven of 11 starts, and does not have a single loss (I know record doesn’t matter, but that shows how good he is). He also owns a stingy 2.69 ERA in 63⅔ innings. He’s got a 5-2 record and 3.52 ERA in 10 career starts at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox turn to Chris Sale, their ace who has not pitched further than five innings since July 27. He’s been battling left shoulder inflammation and a significant drop in his fastball velocity. But, Bob Nightengale of USA Today cited unnamed scouts as saying the lefty has been hitting 95+ mph and his bullpen sessions and should be ready to go at full strength against the Bronx Bombers.


Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Mookie Betts – RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. Steve Pearce – 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez – DH
  5. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  6. Eduardo Núñez – 3B
  7. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  8. Sandy León – C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF

Yankees ALDS Roster and Starting Rotation

Sabathia and Tarpley in; Higashioka and Wade out.

The Yankees have announced their roster and starting rotation for the best-of-5 American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Starting Rotation

Here is how Aaron Boone and Alex Cora will align their starting rotations:
  • Game 1:
    • J.A. Happ vs. Chris Sale
  • Game 2:
    • Masahiro Tanaka vs. David Price
  • Game 3:
    • Rick Porcello vs. TBA (likely Luis Severino)
  • Game 4*:
    • Nathan Eovaldi vs. TBA (likely CC Sabathia)
  • Game 5*:
    • TBA vs. TBA

Roster

  • Changes from Wild Card roster are reflected with strikethrough and bold.

Pitchers

  • Dellin Betances – 68
  • Zach Britton – 53
  • Aroldis Chapman – 54
  • Chad Green – 57
  • J.A. Happ – 34
  • Jonathan Holder – 56
  • Lance Lynn – 36
  • David Robertson – 30
  • CC Sabathia – 52
  • Luis Severino – 40
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 19
  • Stephen Tarpley – 71

Catchers

  • Kyle Higashioka – 66
  • Austin Romine – 28
  • Gary Sánchez – 24

Infielders

  • Miguel Andújar – 41
  • Didi Gregorius – 18
  • Adeiny Hechavarría – 29
  • Gleyber Torrres – 25
  • Luke Voit – 45
  • Tyler Wade – 12
  • Neil Walker – 14

Outfielders

  • Brett Gardner – 11
  • Aaron Hicks – 31
  • Aaron Judge – 99
  • Andrew McCutchen – 26
  • Giancarlo Stanton – 27

Yankees Announce Wild Card Roster

The Yankees have announced their Wild Card roster.

Pitchers

  • Dellin Betances – 68
  • Zach Britton – 53
  • Aroldis Chapman – 54
  • Chad Green – 57
  • J.A. Happ – 34
  • Jonathan Holder – 56
  • Lance Lynn – 36
  • David Robertson – 30
  • Luis Severino – 40
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 19

Catchers

  • Kyle Higashioka – 66
  • Austin Romine – 28
  • Gary Sánchez – 24

Infielders

  • Miguel Andújar – 41
  • Didi Gregorius – 18
  • Adeiny Hechavarría – 29
  • Gleyber Torrres – 25
  • Luke Voit – 45
  • Tyler Wade – 12
  • Neil Walker – 14

Outfielders

  • Brett Gardner – 11
  • Aaron Hicks – 31
  • Aaron Judge – 99
  • Andrew McCutchen – 26
  • Giancarlo Stanton – 27

Red Sox 2, Yankees 3: Walker’s 10th Homer the Difference-Maker

No clinch for Boston.

THE BRONX – Neil Walker crushed his 10th homer of the year off Ryan Brasier to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning Tuesday, en route to the first Yankee win over Boston since July 1.

The bridge to dominant closer Craig Kimbrel has been sketchy all year for Alex Cora‘s Red Sox, though their 103 wins would say otherwise. Nathan Eovaldi was masterful for six innings, allowing two hits in six shutout innings before being pulled with just 83 pitches. Brandon Workman entered to start the seventh and walked both Aaron Hicks and Gary Sánchez (with Miguel Andújar popping up on a likely ball 4 in between).

Cora went to Brasier, and Aaron Boone elected to stick with Walker at the plate and Sánchez on first. This time, Boone won. Walker smoked a 3-2 slider into the second deck at Yankee Stadium, and he knew it. As he left the batter’s box, he pointed to the Yankees dugout. The Yankee offense finally got a jolt.

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David Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth inning, which included some uncharacteristically lackadaisical defense from Aaron Hicks. J.D. Martinez doubled into the gap, and the ball got past Hicks. The center-fielder jogged after the ball, and simply tossed it to the cut-off man while Martinez motored into third. Robertson induced two fly balls to render the issue moot.

But, bad defense was the theme of the ninth inning as Zach Britton was brought in to close. Brandon Phillips was thrown out 2-3 on a strikeout to start the frame, and then things got frustrating. Adeiny Hechavarría, who replaced Andújar for defense, threw a 5-4-3 double-play ball away by throwing it to the arm side of Gleyber Torres (which was unfairly ruled an E4). Sam Travis then hit a tapper back to Britton, and he threw a sinker on a potential 1-4-3 double-play ball into center field. That allowed Brock Holt, who walked, to score. But, two pitches later, they finally got it right. Ian Kinsler hit a ground ball back to Britton, and they finally got the 1-4-3 needed to push a Red Sox clinch celebration back at least another 24 hours.

Britton understood the magnitude of the situation, as he was given an opportunity to atone for the mistake he committed. One play after throwing the ball into center field, he was able to throw a strike to Torres that allowed him to record his sixth save on the season. The difference? A return to the fundamentals of throwing a baseball:

“The balls were wet,” Britton said. “So after the error that I made, I just thought, if I find the other one, I’ve really got to find the four seams and make a good throw to second and make sure we got one out.”

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Not to be lost in Tuesday’s big win was the performance of J.A. Happ. The veteran delivered another quality start, allowing an unearned run (because of a Sánchez passed ball) on four hits and three walks. He recorded six strikeouts, and 65% of his 102 pitches were strikes. In the third inning, Kinsler singled, moved to second on a phantom balk call (seriously, it’s hard to see), and scored on a Martinez sacrifice fly after moving to third on the passed ball.


Aaron Judge got through his first full game since July 26 without a setback. He went 0-for-4, hitting the ball hard three times before getting rung up on a questionable check-swing call in his final at-bat.

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Judge, of course, was not originally supposed to start Tuesday. But, the six-hour delay in start time allowed him to hit in another simulated game, and convince the Yankees decision-makers that he was ready to go.

“I just voiced my opinion. A lot,” Judge said after the game. “I think they got tired of me telling them I wanted to be playing. So they finally said let’s put him in there and see what happens.”

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