The New York Yankees have the second best win percentage in major league baseball behind the Red Sox who have played 4 more games this season. The Yankees lead the league in homeruns, and pretty much every category offensively and when right they have the best bullpen in the game. If the Yankees are going to win the World Series though, they are going to need to upgrade the starting rotation. The Yankees would be wise to look at left handed pitcher J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays to fill that need; three reasons why.
First the Yankees have always had a left handed pitcher in every year they won the World Series; whether it was Ford, Guidry, Pettitte or Sabathia. A left handed pitcher is crucial for a team to succeed in Yankee Stadium; not only that but a left hander who can also eat innings. While its true the Yankees already have left hander CC Sabathia, he is 37 years old and just can’t give them the innings they need averaging only five innings per start. On the other hand, Happ is averaging 6 innings per start and has pitched into the seventh inning four times.
The second reason is the Yankees are gearing up to make a World Series run and post season experience counts. The left handed J.A. Happ has that experience that guys like Pettitte and Sabathia have had in the past when he pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 post season and was their game 1 starter.
The most important reason might come down to cost, not only money but prospects that would have to be given up. While its true that guys like Michael Fulmer and Chris Archer are much younger than Happ, they’re also team controlled for more years and younger which means the return for them would be a lot more than the return would be for Happ. The Yankees dont seem to want to trade away guys like Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield or Estevan Florial but to get a guy like Fulmer, Archer or the dream of Madison Bumgardner of the San Francisco Giants, the Yankees would likely have to part with at least 2 of those guys. On the other hand, J.A. Happ is a free agent after this season so he will be a rental. The Yankees are stacked with pitching prospects; The Toronto Blue Jays not so much. A complication could arise with the Jays and the Yankees being in the same division, but with Happ due to be a free agent after this season wouldn’t it make sense for the Jays to get the best return possible for him? The Jays likely will not be competing with the Red Sox or the Yankees for the AL East this season so an in division trade for Happ likely wouldn’t be too much of a hurdle if they can agree on prospects.
The Yankees need another solid pitcher if they are going to win the World Series, if they want to go big and try to acquire a Bumgardner, Fulmer, Archer or someone of that nature then by all means go for it. If they fail to come to an agreement there however, the Yankees could do a lot worse than picking up a guy like J.A. Happ to slot into their rotation along with Severino and Tanaka and take their shot this year and try to add someone either by free agency or trade in the off season.