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Yankees set to acquire former Pirates pitcher J.A. Happ from Blue Jays

July 29, 2018

The Yankees are set to acquire former Pirates starter J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays.

NEW YORK -- A person with knowledge of the talks told the Associated Press the New York Yankees are nearing a deal to acquire left-hander J.A. Happ from Toronto to bolster their starting rotation.

The Yankees would send infielder Brandon Drury and minor league outfielder Bill McKinney to the Blue Jays, the person said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the trade was subject to the teams approving medical records.

Happ, a former Pirate who turns 36 in October, is 10-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 20 starts and was a first-time All-Star. He would join a rotation that includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray.

Happ has a $13 million salary in the final season of a $36 million, three-year contract, and the Yankees would be responsible for the remaining $4,543,011.

Reliever Zach Britton reported to the Yankees on Thursday, two days after he was acquired for prospects. Britton added $4,387,097 to the Yankees payroll. New York began the season with a $179 million payroll for purposes of the luxury tax, which left the team room to add salaries and remain under the $197 million threshold.

A 12-year major league veteran, Happ is 102-82 with a 3.95 ERA for Philadelphia (2007-10), Houston (2010-12), Toronto (2013-14, 2016-18), Seattle (2015) and the Pirates (2015).

Earlier Thursday, Toronto traded right-hander Seunghwan Oh to Colorado for minor league infielder Chad Spanberger, outfielder Forrest Wall and a player to be named or cash.

Drury, who turns 26 next month, was acquired by the Yankees from Arizona in February and began the season as their starting third baseman. He went on the disabled list after the team’s eighth game because of blurred vision and migraines, and he lost his job to rookie Miguel Andujar.

Drury has played in just 10 games for New York since and has spent most of the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he is hitting .294 with five homers and 30 RBIs in 55 games. He has a $621,900 salary and has 2 years, 99 days of major league service, making it possible he could be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time next winter.

The 23-year-old McKinney was selected by Oakland with the 24th overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft, was traded to the Chicago Cubs with Addison Russell and Dan Straily for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammell in July 2014, then dealt to the Yankees along with Gleyber Torres and Adam Warren for Aroldis Chapman in July 2016.

McKinney has played two games for the Yankees, filling in on March 30-31 because of injuries to other outfielders. He is hitting .230 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs in 62 games this year for Class A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Scranton.

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