The Angels and Rangers have already been linked to J.A. Happ’s free agent market, and now one of Happ’s former teams is getting in on the action. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports (via Twitter) that the Blue Jays have some interest in bringing the left-hander back for his third stint with the team. Happ would provide further veteran reinforcement to a rotation that has already retained another familiar southpaw in Robbie Ray, and Toronto could conceivably roll out an all-southpaw top three of Hyun Jin Ryu, Ray, and Happ in front of other starting candidates like Nate Pearson, Ross Stripling, and Tanner Roark.
Happ initially came to Toronto as part of a ten-player trade with the Astros in July 2012, back when Alex Anthopoulos was the Jays’ general manager. After Happ was dealt to the Mariners in the 2014-15 offseason, he then came back to the Jays on a free agent contract in November 2015, spending the better part of three seasons in Toronto before again being dealt, this time to the Yankees prior to the 2018 trade deadline. 745 1/3 of Happ’s 1741 1/3 career innings have been thrown in a Blue Jays uniform, and Happ has a 3.88 ERA, 2.72 K/BB rate, and 8.3 K/9 as a Blue Jay.
Some items from around the AL East…
- Rays VP of baseball development Peter Bendix spoke with MLB.com’s Juan Toribio and other reporters about the team’s 40-man roster maneuverings on Friday, which included Hunter Renfroe being designated for assignment to clear roster space. “We figured that it was best for everybody involved to let [Renfroe] get into the free-agent market at this point rather than waiting until the non-tender deadline and happen later. Not closing the door on anything with him, but just figured it was better to do it now,” Bendix said. The Rays paid the significant price of Tommy Pham and Rookie Of The Year finalist Jake Cronenworth to acquire Renfroe and infield prospects Xavier Edwards and Esteban Quiroz from the Padres last offseason, and Renfroe hit only .156/.252/.393 with eight homers in 139 plate appearances in Tampa. Despite Renfroe’s struggles, Bendix said “I don’t think we would go back and do anything differently….I think we got what we were hoping to get from him and some other guys also stepped up, and we made other moves that added to our outfield logjam in a way that I don’t think we would’ve anticipated a year ago.“
- Luke Voit’s name has been floated as a potential candidate to be dealt, though ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (subscription required) wonders how much value Voit has a trade chip. Clubs might not be willing to pay a premium since so many other power bats are available, and the Yankees might simply want to keep Voit (or, in general, as much depth as possible) as a guard against the multiple injuries that seem to regularly hamper the veteran roster. Voit is projected to earn $3.7MM in the first of four arbitration-eligible seasons as a Super Two player, and he turns 30 in February.