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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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.