Blue Jays Sign J.A. Happ

Left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ has signed a three year, $36 million contract to rejoin the Toronto Blue Jays.

J.A-HappHapp will receive $10 million in 2016 and $13 million a year afterwards, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Happ improved significantly over the course of the season last year, changing up his mechanics slightly and relying more on a fastball to generate a career low walk rate. He has a career ERA hovering around 4.50, but towards the second half of the season it dropped to 1.85.

The lefty joins Marco Estrada and Jesse Chavez as offseason pitching signings for the Blue Jays.

21 thoughts on “Blue Jays Sign J.A. Happ

  1. So….over the coarse of about 10 weeks, Ray Searage made Happ about $33M dollars. Seems risky to commit $62M and 2 rotation spots to Estrada and Happ.

    There is a 0% chance Estrada comes close to replicating the .216 BABIP of last year, he may not regress to league average, but he doesn’t have to in order to have an ERA north of 4.00. Happ was horrible until Searage sprinkled pixie dust on him. Seems risky of the Jays to think they can maintain the Searage magic on their own.

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    • I was surprised about Happ and Chavez. I watched Chavez a lot in fantasy baseball last year. He had a pronounced home-away split in Oakland. And Toronto is not Oakland.
      Happ may have really improved the mechanics. But I can’t help feeling the Jays bought high on about a third of a season of improvement with the Pirates. 3/$36 seems like a lot, given his history.

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    • I was surprised about Happ, too.

      You’re right, Marco Estrada isn’t going to recreate the magic he found last year when he was first traded to Toronto, but I don’t share the same sentiment that he’s going to fall off dramatically. I had a chance to watch him a lot when he was with the Brewers, and I always thought he was better than he was given credit for. People always made a huge deal about Yovani Gallardo, but I always said that at any given time, I would rather give Estrada the ball as opposed to Yo. I expect him to be a serviceable third starter for the Blue Jays. Not great, but good enough.

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      • Estrada just has no room for error. He doesn’t generate an abnormal number of popups, his K-rate is below average and his BB-rate is essentially average. He rode unsustainable BABIP and HR/FB rates to a better ERA than he should have. He’s a FB pitcher as well, and Toronto generally isn’t forgiving to FB pitchers who don’t K a lot of guys.

        Searage is freaking magical. I’m just glad Pittsburgh wasn’t able to keep Happ because Searage probably would have been able to keep getting good results from him. Analysis of Happ’s stuff shows it didn’t change at all…what changed was his usage, which may be enough…..and, of course, the Jays do need someone to cover innings, so they now have a lot more depth…but in that park they are still looking at trying to out slug everyone.

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      • That should quiet the Shapiro bashers for about ten minutes. It’s becoming increasingly more evident that the Jays aren’t going seriously after Price, and with Buehrle gone, they do have some serious work to do on that rotation. I don’t expect Biggeth Dicketh (much as I love the guy) to be any better than last season, and probably not even as good.

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      • Good point OG.

        They’ve added Happ and Chavez, and kept Estrada.

        That gives them Stroman, Happ, Chavez, Estrada, and Dickey in the rotation…with Hutchinson, Sanchez, Osuna, and others (no idea who, don’t follow the Jays closely) as options as well. Signing price would bump one of the guys they just signed or traded for from the rotation, which would be weird (or at least, horrible planning).

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      • If Stoman continues to develop, they might not feel the Price factor quite as badly. But he’s young, the league’s had much of a season to take his measure, and as they adjust I suspect he’ll be playing ketchup for a while.

        As far as Happ taking a step back, it’s conventional wisdom that good lefties may mature erratically but once they find themselves they’re very, very tough. I’ll be watching and I know that my musical Jays fan pal in Toronto will be watching closely but nervously too.

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      • Their weakness last year was pitching, so I just don’t see how these moves are making them better for playoff contention. Damn, they are starting to feel like the offense-reliant Tigers.

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  2. As an ardent follower of the Jays for their entire existence, I hate this “deal” from almost every conceivable angle, other than needing a lefty. He had 11(!) starts in Pittsburgh that went quite well (in the NL) and 8 previous YEARS of mediocrity form pretty much every angle. They loved him so much the first time they shipped him out to Seattle for an outfielder that can’t avoid injury even before spring training starts. And they will pay $36M to him in his years 33-36! Maybe they they should see if Burnett would like to come back for another 3 years for $40M while they’re at it? Good thing that Shapiro is hear to keep the finances of Rogers under control and to make savvy moves through LaCava.

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