Now that we've had a few hours to think about the J.A. Happ signing, what do you think about it?
Shawn Brody, at Beyond the Boxscore, likes the signing.
To me, it depends on whether you think Happ is the pitcher he was last year. If he is the same guy that pitched for the Pirates, and had the 1.85 ERA and 2.19 FIP in 11 starts, the contract is a bargain. If he is the average of what he did in Pittsburgh and Seattle (3.61 ERA, 3.41 FIP and 3.0 bWAR), he is still pretty much a bargain.
If, on the other hand, you think he's the pitcher we had for 3 seasons, who we moved back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, and up and down between Toronto and Buffalo, who totaled 1.8 bWAR over the 3 years, well he's a huge overpay.
As a general rule, I'm against giving someone a 3-year contract, at age 33, when he's just had his first really good season (first season with a WAR over 2). He set career highs for starts (31) and innings (172). Paying $12 million a year for someone's age 33, 34 and 35 seasons, I'd want him to be someone that had a pretty decent track record.
If you are undecided, you'd be wanting to figure out why he was so good with the Pirates, after being so average with the Mariners. People give Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage a lot of credit for making his delivery more consistent. I'm always worried that small fixes are illusions and any change is unsustainable. He did throw more 4-seam fastballs and had more strikeouts and fewer walks with the Pirates. Will it carry over? with the Jays.
Or is an 11 start sample too small to read much into? Was it 11 good starts because he had a good streak, and was facing weaker competition, who hadn't seem him much. Will he continue to throw more strikes if he starts getting hit more?
The good news is that the signing doesn't cost us anything more than money. No prospects traded. No draft pick lost. All good things. And, in free agent terms, $12 million a year isn't all that much money.
What it might cost us is any chance of signing a bigger name free agent. Shi Davidi tells us that, with this signing and with the contracts the arbitration eligeable players will likely get, the Jays are up to a payroll of about $135 million. The Jays haven't told us what the upper limit is, but odds are that they are getting pretty close to it.
Anyway let's have a poll.