Blue Jays rumors: J.A. Happ 'odd man out'

US PRESSWIRE

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says J.A. Happ is the "odd man out" in Toronto.

Entering the offseason, left-hander J.A. Happ appeared to have a shot at making the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation. However, following several winter acquisitions, manager John Gibbons says he's the "odd man out" in Toronto, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet:

"Happ really deserves to be starting on a major-league club out there, here he's the odd man out," said Gibbons. "We're built differently, especially via the trades."

This offseason the Blue Jays acquired R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets along with Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson from the Miami Marlins. Beyond this trio, who are slated to lead Toronto's rotation, the Blue Jays also have Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero.

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While he doesn't have a shot at opening the season as a starter in Toronto, there's also not a clear spot for Happ in the Blue Jays' bullpen. Though the fact that he's left-handed helps his cause, Happ is competing with fellow southpaw Brett Cecil for the role of long man.

If Happ struggles this spring - he gave up no runs on three hits in two innings against the New York Yankees yesterday - and doesn't hold appeal as a long man option, Toronto could send him to Triple-A to start the season, as he has options remaining.

Because teams follow the cliché that too many pitchers isn't a possibility, Toronto is unlikely to trade Happ for the sake of making a move. However, if a club in need of a starter sends the Jays a competitive offer, they could elect to move the 30-year-old rather than stash him in the ‘pen or Triple-A.

Happ appeared in 28 games, including 24 starts, last season for the Houston Astros and Blue Jays. Over a combined 144 2/3 innings of work, he maintained an ERA of 4.79. Over parts of six seasons in the majors, Happ owns a career ERA of 4.19 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.93.

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