After the devastating news that LHP Jordan Montgomery will be lost for at least the next year to Tommy John Surgery, the Yankees are in need of starting pitching immediately if not sooner. With only $11 million to spare before being put back over the Salary Cap Tax Threshold, the club should turn to a division rival to look to bolster their thinning rotation and add veteran lefty, J.A. Happ.
In 12 starts this season Happ is 7-3 with a 4.08 ERA, very respectable numbers in the AL East and was even named the Jays’s Opening Day starter against the Yankees. The third-round draft pick out of Northwestern was supposed to be a staple in the Phillies’ rotation for years, but inconsistency caused him to bounce around before finally settling in with the Blue Jays in his second stint with the club.
Should the Yankees acquire him past the half-way point of the season, his $13 million dollar salary will become manageable and perhaps allow them to trade for another starter as well if they can make the dollars and cents work. The loss of Montgomery causes the need for another lefty in the rotation to rise even more due to C.C. Sabathia’s ineffectiveness in his last four outings. Happ, when healthy and effective, can provide more than just what a normal fourth or fifth starter can bring to a rotation, the spot currently occupied by CC.
Many still believe the Yankees need to add a frontline starter in order to compete with the Astros and Red Sox down the stretch, similar to the Justin Verlander deal from last season by the Astros. But Happ can be that guy and his extensive experience in the AL East is priceless.