New York Yankees: J.A. Happ, team’s 5th starter… for now

New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman named SP J.A. Happ the team’s 5th starter. Given the current situation, he’s right. Happ will start… for now.

In an interview with New York Yankees beat reporter Meredith Marakovits, when asked if there was a competition for the 5th slot in the rotation, general manager Brian Cashman said, “J.A. Happ will be our fifth starter.”

In saying this, Cashman wasn’t lying. As it currently stands, with Happ still on the team, he is – and should be – the team’s fifth starter.

With Domingo German set to miss 2-months of the season and Jordan Montgomery still inching his way back from Tommy John Surgery, Happ stands as the team’s best option… for now.

What Cashman didn’t mention was that Happ remains firmly on the trading block as the Yankees look to shed his salary. Cashman is also aware that teams like the Los Angeles Angels have struck out on a number of starters this offseason and could use a veteran lefty on their team if they are to seriously contend for a playoff spot in 2020.

The problem is, since being dealt to New York, Happ hasn’t really lived up to his $17M salary. In spurts, he’s shown that he can shut down a big-league lineup. It just hasn’t happened as consistently as the Yankees would like.

On the other hand, Happ only has 1-year left on his deal. What’s more, if we were to cherry-pick at his numbers, we can point out that he has a .704 W-L% in pinstripes. “The guy knows how to win,” a savvy GM can tell a gullible organization.

Also, “he was a victim of juiced balls,” Cashman can tell teams to explain away his record-setting 34 HR allowed during the 2019 MLB season. That’s why his ERA and FIP were so inflated, right?

Well… maybe.

The point is, if the New York Yankees fail to move J.A. Happ along with his salary, he will get a real shot at the 5th spot. When German returns, however, the team will reconsider. Also, if Deivy Garcia continues his ascent through the minors, the team will look to see what he can do in the “show.”

So don’t get too comfortable watching Happ take the ball every 5th day, for his time here is limited.

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