Instant Reaction: Yankees Acquire J.A. Happ

The New York Yankees sent Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney to the Toronto Blue Jays for J.A. Happ, according to multiple reports. It was clear that Brian Cashman and Co. were going to add to the starting rotation prior to the July 31st trade deadline. The New York Yankees rotation has been decent this season but that will not fly when they are chasing the scorching Boston Red Sox. The SP market was exceptionally thin this year and, thus, Happ found himself as potentially the best available SP on the market. Cashman, realizing the state of the market, jumped at the opportunity to add Happ to help solidify the rotation.

With any move, there are Yankee fans that do not like the deal. I do not quite understand how one could dislike this move by Cashman. Happ might not be the greatest pitcher in the world but he is a proven veteran. While pitching in the vaunted AL East, J.A. Happ has compiled a 1.5 WARP this season. In two starts this season against the very team the Yankees are chasing, the Red Sox, Happ has posted a sparkling 0.84 ERA. If anything, adding Happ to does not hurt the Yankees.

Meanwhile, Brandon Drury simply did not have a role on this Yankees team. With Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar manning second and third, respectively, there was nowhere for Drury to get consistent playing time. In the 18 games Drury did appear in this season, he slashed .176/.263/.275. Not exactly sparkling numbers. There was zero reason for Cashman to hold onto Drury just so he could rot in AAA for the rest of the season. The second player heading to Toronto, Billy McKinney, is a solid prospect. He is a former first round pick by the Oakland Athletics and the Yankees acquired him two years ago from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman deal. The problem? McKinney is an outfielder and, if you didn’t know, the Yankees have a few of those. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, and Clint Frazier are all ahead of McKinney in the pecking order. With McKinney expendable, it makes sense that Cashman was willing to include him in this deal.

Whether or not you like J.A. Happ, this was a deal that Cashman had to make. The Yankees desperately needed to add to their rotation and Cashman traded from positions of depth to add to a position of weakness. Do not prospect hug. The Yankees needed a pitcher who could contribute at the big-league level right now and they got that in Happ.

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