The Mariners are getting calls about J.A. Happ
By Chace Davy
The Mariners made a splash in the trade market on Wednesday when they traded outfielder Michael Saunders to the Blue Jays for LHP J.A. Happ. Now, according to Kevin Shockey of Spots Radio KJR, they are already getting calls from other teams asking about him.
Quick note: If you remember, Happ is the guy that took a line drive to the face in May last year.
The trade put a valuable veteran lefty starter on the M’s roster along with youngsters James Paxton and Roenis Elias.
The biggest question I had after hearing this news is quite simply, “Why?” The Mariners obviously saw something they liked in the 32-year-old Happ, who threw for a 4.22 ERA last season.
Happ is statistically a mediocre pitcher now, far removed from his 2009 season when he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.
The interest in Happ from other teams does bring up an interesting point, however. What are the M’s going to do with him? I can’t imagine they would trade a player they just acquired.
I get the sense that Happ would probably start in place of Chris Young, should the M’s decide not to offer him a new deal. Both Happ and Young are similar statistically, so in a way the M’s would have swapped a right-hander for a lefty.
This is obviously dependent on what the M’s do with Young, who has stated that he would love to play for the Mariners next year.
However, now that we have evidence, via a Greg Johns tweet, that Iwakuma isn’t going anywhere, the Mariners’ starting pitching is looking really diverse.
The M’s could potentially start, in no particular order, Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma, Paxton, Happ, and Taijuan Walker.
Happ and Hernandez are the only two players on that list that have more than three years of MLB pitching experience.
While Happ isn’t the best player that the M’s could have acquired this offseason, the fact that other teams are still looking at him means that he is a good pickup for the M’s.
I would like to see the Mariners go for even more pitching (someone like James Shields), but that would cost a considerable amount of money, and I have no idea how much the M’s are willing to pay, considering the big contracts they currently owe Hernandez, Robinson Cano, and now Kyle Seager.
As it stands now, Happ is a good middle ground between inexperience and All-Star status, and could end up being a sleeper pickup, much like Young was last year.
He isn’t a household name by any standards (except for the line drive incident), but an experienced lefty could be just what the M’s needed next season.