Pirates acquire left-hander J.A. Happ from Mariners

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Left-hander J.A. Happ is on the move, going from Seattle to Pittsburgh to provide some back-of-the-rotation and/or long relief depth for the Pirates.

Happ has mostly struggled this season with a 4.64 ERA in 20 starts, including a particularly ugly outing versus the Twins earlier this week, and he hasn’t posted an ERA better than 4.20 since 2010. He’s a 32-year-old with a 4.29 career ERA and mediocre strikeout and walk rates, and Happ is an impending free agent.

On the heels of the Pirates acquiring Joe Blanton the Happ addition kind of seems like fifth starter/long reliever overkill, but clearly the Pirates feel like they need some innings eaten by so-so veterans.

In exchange for Happ the Mariners get 2012 fifth-round draft pick Adrian Sampson, a 23-year-old right-hander with a sub par strikeout rate and iffy overall numbers as a starter at Triple-A.

Rumor: MLB execs discussing 100-game season that would begin July 1

David Price and Mookie Betts
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.

In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.

Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.

Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.