Behold the Red Sox' pitching depth

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Penny, Smoltz, Paul Byrd. Tell me, wasn’t the Red Sox’ strength supposed to be their deep, deep starting pitching talent?

In case Brad Penny’s start last night did not convince you the Red Sox are a little light on starting pitching now, a late-breaking development should have nailed that case shut for you. In the waning moments of the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss to the Rays, team officials notified the media that Paul Byrd had been signed to a minor league deal.

Good luck with that. And good luck against the Yankees with John Smoltz on the hill. Maybe Theo will sign Jose Lima in the closing innings of that one. Unlike Byrd, at least some other teams have recently found him to be desirable.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.