Yankees acquire J.A. Happ from Blue Jays

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The Yankees have acquired Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ. In return they have sent infielder Brandon Drury and outfield prospect Billy McKinney.

Happ is 10-6 on the season with a 4.18 ERA in 20 starts. While, after 12 years in the bigs, you sort of know what to expect from Happ, he has increased his strikeout rate dramatically this year, punching out 10.3 batters per nine after averaging only 7.9 for his career. His WHIP, 1.175, is at a career low as well. He has had a couple of outlier starts that have elevated his ERA, including an outing in early July against the Yankees in which he gave up six runs. He’ll be a free agent after the season after completing the three-year, $36M contract he got from the Jays before the 2016 season.

Drury the Yankees’ Opening Day third baseman, but the emergence of Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, combined with Drury’s time on the disabled list due to migraines and blurred vision have limited him to just 57 plate appearances this year. Those have been forgettable, but he batted a combined .273/.323/.453 with 29 homers, 68 doubles and three triples in just under 1,000 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks in 2016-17 and he’s still just 25.

McKinney, a first rounder of the A’s in 2013, was included as a throw-in in larger trades that sent him first to the Cubs and then to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016. He’s played in two games for the Yankees and has hit 230/.294/.502 with 13 homers, eight doubles and five triples. A lot of power, not much on-base ability. Some Yankees fans may not be happy to see him go because of the power, but he really is expendable for a team in the Yankees’ position.

The Yankees improved their bullpen by picking up Zach Britton the other day. Now they bolster their rotation without having to give up all that much, truth be told. These are some nice moves. Now we’ll see if these moves right what has been, for them anyway, a rough patch in recent weeks.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.