Seattle Mariners trade Michael Saunders for J.A. Happ


According to Jayson Stark, the Seattle Mariners have traded outfielder Michael Saunders to the Toronto Blue Jays for left-hander J.A. Happ.

Happ was a Blue Jay for the last three years, and is an eight year veteran of the league. The move covers the Mariners need for veteran starting pitching in the lineup, and sends Saunders to the Blue Jays to play with 2014 All-Star Jose Bautista.

In 158 innings last year, Happ threw for a 4.22 ERA, with 153 strikeouts. He adds another left-handed starter on the roster to accompany James Paxton and Roenis Elias.

Happ would likely be on the starting five on opening day last night along with Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Paxton, and possibly Chris Young, should the M’s decide to keep him on the roster.

The Mariners inherit his $6.7 million contract with the Blue Jays, which lasts until the end of next season.

With Happ now in the picture, the M’s have a veteran lefty who would teach James Paxton and Roenis Elias the tricks of the trade. Happ was second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2009, when he threw 119 strikeouts in in 166 innings on his way to a 2.93 ERA.

Although the Mariners  lose their starting right fielder in Saunders, they traded him for a player that the Mariners badly needed on their roster if they plan on keeping Paxton or Elias around. James Paxton could use some veteran leadership in what could be a defining season for the young starter, who only started 13 games last season and is looking at his first full season in the MLB.