Yankees acquire All-Star pitcher J.A. Happ

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

The New York Yankees offense has been incredibly effective all season long.

As of Thursday night, their 162 team home runs leads the MLB by a wide margin, as the Boston Red Sox rank second with 143.

Therefore, the lineup that includes sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton has been incredibly productive, ranking fourth in the MLB in runs scored.

New York also has the best bullpen in the Majors. They added former Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton to a group that already includes David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman at the back-end of their bullpen.

Presumably, the Yankees can now turn to their bullpen with confidence as soon as the sixth inning. That fact could become very crucial since the Yankees have not received reliable starting pitching from anyone not named Luis Severino (14-3, 2.63 ERA) all season long.

Former ace Masahiro Tanaka (8-2, 4.09) has been hit-or-miss, as has CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.51). Sonny Gray (8-7, 5.08) has been a huge disappointment as a whole despite his recent success. Rookie starters Domingo German (2-6, 5.68 ERA) and Jonathan Loaisiga (2-0, 3.00 ERA) both showed glimpses of promise, but cannot be trusted.

Heading into the final stretch of the season and presumably into the playoffs, the Yankees knew they had to acquire a starter before the trade deadline passed.

89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard

A familiar face

On Thursday, they acquired J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and Triple-A outfielder Billy McKinney.

"I'm really excited about this," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, per ESPN’s Coley Harvey. "This is a guy who's obviously had a really good career, he's having a good year this year. We think in a lot of ways he can pitch a lot better than his numbers might suggest.”

Happ, a 35-year-old lefty, posted a 10-6 record with a 4.18 ERA for the Blue Jays and earned an All-Star bid for his efforts. His numbers have recently ballooned due to a few recent bad outings, but as a whole, he’s been a serviceable pitcher, striking out 130 batters while allowing 99 hits in 114.0 innings.

89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard

While Happ struggled in his two starts against New York this season, he was victorious against the Houston Astros in his only start against them and only gave up one earned run in two starts against the Boston Red Sox, whom the Yankees will square off against 10 more times this season. In those two starts against Boston, he managed a 0.84 ERA and was dominant, striking out 16 batters in 10.2 innings.

Further, he has absolutely owned Boston’s top hitters over the course of his career.

Therefore, Happ could play a major role down the stretch for the Yankees. It remains to be seen what the new rotation will look like, but a four-man rotation in the playoffs (if they earn a bid) might look like Severino, Tanaka, Sabathia and Happ.

In all, it was a necessary move for New York to make and Happ was one of the best options on the trade block, even though he’s a rental since he’ll be a free agent after the season ends.

Toronto also made out well in the deal. Drury is 25 years old and still has three more years under team control. He dealt with a freak injury earlier in the season and lost his third base job to rookie Miguel Andujar, who has been fantastic. Although he hit .176 with just one home run and seven RBIs in 18 games this season for the Yankees, he recorded 13 homers and drove in 63 runs while hitting .267 in 135 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last year.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays

McKinney appeared in Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A and played two games in the Majors this season for New York, but spent most of his time in Triple-A Scranton/Walkes-Barre. There, the 23 year old batted just .230, but displayed some power, hitting 13 homers while driving in 32 runs in 54 games.

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