The Braves are still interested in veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who’s garnered intrigue from at least a third of major league baseball.
Happ, 36, is arguably the best free-agent starter available after the Nationals signed Patrick Corbin. His most recent employer, the Yankees, along with the Phillies and Astros are reportedly among the clubs hoping to plug him into their rotation.
From 2016-18, Happ was one of the more reliable arms in the American League. He produced a 3.44 ERA with 498 strikeouts over 518 innings in that AL East-laden span.
A deadline trade to the Yankees proved fruitful for the impending free agent. Happ posted a 2.69 ERA with 63 strikeouts against 16 walks over 63-2/3 innings. Last season was his first All-Star appearance.
Despite widespread interest, Happ has yet to receive the three-year offer he desires. Jeff Passan of Yahoo reported Happ would accept the first three-year contract he’s offered, or otherwise choose from a bevy of two-year deals.
Happ might be looking for a contract similar to Rich Hill’s agreement with the Dodgers – three years, $48 million. The organization hasn’t shown a willingness to meet Happ’s hopes to this point, but it could be a player if he eventually takes a two-year deal.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the Braves haven’t made an offer to Happ or any other free agent.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos has a history with Happ, as he did with free-agent signee Josh Donaldson. Anthopoulos acquired Happ for the Blue Jays in 2012.
Happ went on to pitch for the Mariners, Pirates, Blue Jays again and the Yankees. He was originally a prized Phillies prospect, dealt to the Astros in a package for Roy Oswalt.
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