The Milwaukee Brewers were linked to starter J.A. Happ at the trade deadline. Happ is a free agent now, but is there still interest?
J.A. Happ is a lefty who’s capable of racking up strikeouts in bunches. The Milwaukee Brewers could use a left-handed starter who has ‘swing-and-miss’ in his arsenal. However, 2019 will be Happ’s age-36 season. Could Happ make sense as a short term solution to the Brewers rotation?
How did Happ perform in 2018?
Happ picked a great time to hit free agency.
He split his 2018 season between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. In total, he made 31 starts, tossed 177 2/3 innings, and posted a 3.65 ERA. He struck out 193, walked 51, and gave up 27 homers.
He also averaged 92 MPH on his fastball. He’s one of the rare starters who has actually discovered velocity as he’s aged. Happ averaged 88.9 MPH on his heater in 2008.
Is there a link between the Brewers & Happ?
If a recent report from MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi is to be believed, the Milwaukee Brewers do have interest in securing Happ’s services. The problem is that there are about a dozen other teams who are also after Happ.
What would a deal for Happ look like?
Happ is in a unique position in that he’s looking for what will likely be his final contract. He could pitch into his forties, but this is really his last chance to cash in. He has multiple bidders, and won’t have to settle for a one- or two-year deal. Happ is going to get at least a three-year deal with a yearly value in the $15-to-$18 million range, depending on how good his agent is.
Does Happ really make sense for the Brewers?
Honestly, no. Not really.
Happ is a solid contributor that makes sense as a third or fourth starter on a really good team. However, the Milwaukee Brewers already have a lot of solid starters on their roster. They don’t need to add more solid. They need to add an ace.
The dollars that Happ is going to command are also concerning. Paying a 36-year old starter for three seasons with a yearly value that’s close to what Lorenzo Cain is getting doesn’t make sense for their budget. The Milwaukee Brewers should have enough to make one splash and few smaller moves with out blowing their budget. Adding Happ would make the ‘splash’ impossible without moving Eric Thames or Chase Anderson…or both.
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If Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns wants to ‘kick the tires’ on Happ to gauge his interest, that makes sense. But actually pursuing him thinking that he’s going to make the rotation noticeably better isn’t the way to go. The off season is just getting started and every team is linked to just about everyone. The Brewers may have interest in Happ, but that doesn’t mean they’re interested enough to give him the years or dollars he’s going to command.