Astros Rumors: Would J.A. Happ fit the need in rotation?
With the trade deadline about a month away, there will be many rumors circulating the Astros.
Some of them will come from Mark DeRosa, but I would focus on the main insiders. Jon Morosi is one of those insiders. While this is more speculation, he offered what he called an intriguing trade scenario for the Astros.
The Astros have the depth in the rotation to win in the regular season. However, behind Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, do they have a third top pitcher to win in the playoffs? If the answer for you is yes, then you will be opposed to the Astros making a trade.
Morosi speculated that J.A. Happ could be a good target. Yes, the same Happ that the Astros had a few years ago. The same Happ that had 20 wins last year behind the Blue Jays dynamic offense. Last year, he had 163 strikeouts in 195 innings with a 3.17 ERA.
Happ is in the middle of a 3-year $36 million dollar contract with the Blue Jays. He would not be a one year rental under team control through 2018. The Astros are rumored to be seeking a player who would be under team control through the current window to win.
A year after winning 20 games, has he returned to the mean yet? This year, the 34-year-old lefty has a 3-5 record with a 3.47 ERA for the last place Blue Jays. He has 57 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched this year. Due to an injury, he has missed some time this year limiting his innings pitched. This could help him be stronger down the stretch.
‘Happ’y to return?
If the Astros acquire him, it would be his second stint with them. In his three seasons with the Astros, he had a 18-28 record with a 4.84 ERA. To his defense, he was part of the team when they were trying to get the first overall pick. Happ was part of the Roy Oswalt deal. He was a young pitcher who showed some success and the team thought he could be part of the future.
He was traded to the Blue Jays in the mega deal that brought us Joe Musgrove. Happ has become a better pitcher in his time with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Pirates, and Blue Jays again. Could he be able to help the Astros this time around? Sure, this is a much different team than the 2012 squad.
He would be a good complement to Keuchel on the mound and would bring a veteran presence. However, he may not be as cheap as people might think. It would take about 3-4 of the Astros top prospects with one of them being top three.
Next: Astros can't wait for Peacock to move back into the bullpen.
Would Happ be a upgrade over a healthy Collin McHugh or Charlie Morton? This is what the Astros need to decide over the next few weeks. While Happ is a decent option, think the Astros are after a younger pitcher such as Sonny Gray. Joel Sherman confirmed this on a recent Ringer MLB podcast.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***