With the season ending injury to Jordan Montgomery and the struggles of Sonny Gray there had been a glaring weakness on the 2018 Yankee squad. The starting pitching. However, the solution to the problem wasn’t staring the Yankees right in the face. It is no secret that the starting pitching trade market is bare, to say the least. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman knew that he was going to have to settle for an average starter and today he went out and got him. J.A. Happ will be heading from the Blue Jays to Yankees in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and Outfielder/First Baseman Billy McKinney.
While there is no reason to be elated that the Yankees are finally going to solidify their rotation (assuming Sonny Gray isn’t moved) you can’t help but think that maybe the Yankees gave up too much. Yes, Drury and McKinney are both Major league ready players who have above average potential, but they have no spot on the Yankees’ roster. Drury is too good to be wasted on the bench and wasn’t going to replace anyone in the infield for years to come. McKinney isn’t replacing Greg Bird who has started to live up to his potential and isn’t going to take over for anyone in the outfield. Again, you could make the argument that the Yankees have given a hefty package for an average starter, but they won’t be hurt depth-wise with Drury and McKinney not in the system.
Now, Let’s talk about Happ. Something that is very important to remember is, although an ace-level starter would be amazing, the Yankees only need someone who is a decent amount better than Domingo German. Happ’s ERA is 4.18 (a stretch of a few bad starts have inflated it) and German’s ERA is 5.68. A clear upgrade.
To sum things up, getting J.A. Happ isn’t a “sexy” move, but when you look at his post season experience and his consistency over the years the Yankees have improved a great amount with his acquisition.