The Blue Jays met with J.A. Happ’s representatives yesterday today,and GM Ross Atkins said that Happ is “one of my favorite people in baseball” before also acknowledging that there’ll be ample competition for his services this offseason. (The L.A. Dodgers may be interested if Hyun-Jin Ryu declines the team’s qualifying offer. The Yanks naturally want him back, and the Reds are reportedly interested in him as well.)
Happ just turned 36, but despite the fact that he’s entering the later stages of his career, he remained as effective as ever in 2018. He tossed 177 2/3 innings of 3.65 ERA ball with a career-best 9.8 K/9 mark against 2.6 BB/9 and 1.37 HR/9 with a 40.1% grounder rate. Happ’s 10.4% swinging-strike rate was also the highest of his career, while his 31.7% chase rate was his second-best mark as a big leaguer
As much as we would all like to see it, a return to the Jays seems unlikely. At his age it’s doubtful Happ would want to rejoin a team that is still 2-3 years from contending, even though the veteran pitcher has professed his love for Toronto. Rumours are that Happ could land another multi-year contract at around $13 million a year, or slightly more.
So if the deal with J.A doesnt look like it will Happ-en, who else are the Jays looking at. Well, Edwin Jackson of the A’s is one.
The A’s also have expressed serious interest in re-signing the 35-year-old, according to a source.
Jackson went 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 17 starts for the A’s last season, earning his 100th career win in the process. Even more impressive, the A’s went 14-3 in his starts. For his efforts, Jackson was named a finalist for AL Comeback Player of the Year.
Meanwhile MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has reported that Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, considered by some to be a top 15 free agent this season, could be among a handful of free-agent starting pitchers the Jays might try to sign.
The Seibu Lions, Kikuchi’s club in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, has agreed to make the 27-year-old available via the posting system, according to multiple reports.
One of NPB’s top pitchers for the past handful of seasons, Kikuchi posted a 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 153 strikeouts over 163.2 innings last season and owns a career ERA of 2.81 in eight years in Japan. The Dodgers, Padres and Phillies are also sniffing around.
Want even more news about pitchers? Your wish is granted my friends!
5 more free agent pitchers the Jays could target.
5 pitchers who could really use a change of scenery (im weeping over Jacob DeGrom and his 1.70 ERA going to waste in Flushing. GET OUT MAN!!!)
Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks might well be the best free agent in baseball.
The Yankees decided they could squeeze another year out of the very shabby looking athlete that is CC Sabathia and re-signed him to an $8m, 1 year deal (pending a physical).
Rumours abound the the Mariners might entertain a tear down of their roster. James Paxton and Edwin Diaz might be traded (likely for a good return).
With the Astros facing the prospect of losing Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton to free agency, their rotation was dealt a further blow with the news that Lance McCullers Jr. underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday and will miss the entire 2019 season.
To end, a nice little snippet on how Cavan Biggio is beginning to heat up in the Arizona Fall League.