JA Happ, Twins finalize $8 million, 1-year contract
Published 5:24 pm Friday, January 22, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins and pitcher J.A. Happ finalized an $8 million, one-year contract on Friday.
The 38-year-old Happ spent the past 2 1/3 seasons with the New York Yankees. Acquired from Toronto at the 2018 trade deadline, the left-hander went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts down the stretch to finish 17-6. The Yankees then rewarded him with a $34 million, two-year contract.
Happ was the second offseason addition by the Twins, who also added relief pitcher Hansel Robles to the team that has won the AL Central division in each of the last two years. Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill became free agents, creating openings in the rotation behind José Berríos, Kenta Maeda and Michael Pineda. Minnesota was third in the AL in 2020 with a team ERA of 3.58.
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Happ went 12-8 in 2019 and struggled at the start of the pandemic-delayed 2020 season, prompting the Yankees to skip his turn. Happ gained strength as the year went on and finished with a 2-2 record and 3.47 ERA in nine starts. His $17 million option originally would have become guaranteed with 27 starts or 165 innings, but the threshold was reduced to 10 starts with the shortened season. He fell one short.
Happ followed Deivi García as an opener in Game 2 of the AL Division Series for New York and gave up two-run homers to Mike Zunino in the second inning and Manuel Margot in the third of the 7-5 loss to Tampa Bay. Happ said after the game he would have been more comfortable starting.
An All-Star in 2018, Happ is 123-92 with a 3.98 ERA in 298 starts and 26 relief appearances over 14 major league seasons with Philadelphia (2007-10), Houston (2010-12), Toronto (2012-14, 2016-18), Seattle (2015), Pittsburgh (2015) and the Yankees.