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Blue Jays rumors: Toronto prefers to keep J.A. Happ

The Blue Jays would rather retain J.A. Happ as insurance against injury to their starting rotation rather than trade him.

J. Meric

Former Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. is competing for a role in the team's bullpen this spring. While Happ may not play a significant role with the club at the start of the season, Toronto would rather retain the southpaw than trade him, according to Andy Martino of The New York Daily News.

Entering the offseason, it appeared Happ had a shot at claiming a spot in Toronto's 2013 Opening Day rotation. The team went on to acquire Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey this offseason, ending any chance of Happ breaking camp as a starter for the Blue Jays. He's now competing with fellow left-hander Brett Cecil for a spot in Toronto's 'pen.

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Happ has options remaining, so the Blue Jays could elect to use him as a starter in Triple-A, stashing him in the minors as insurance against injury to once of their starters, who are projected to be Dickey, Johnson, Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero.

Other teams could be interested in adding Happ as a starter this spring, but Toronto doesn't believe they'd get as much value out of dealing him as they would keeping him as an experienced extra. The 30-year-old maintained an ERA of 4.79 over 28 appearances -- including 24 starts -- for the Blue Jays and Houston Astros last season. He owns a career ERA of 4.19 over six seasons in the majors.