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Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to three year deal

The Blue Jays have added a former friend to their rotation for 2016 and beyond.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have addressed their need for starting pitching, as they've signed left-hander J.A. Happ to a 3-year, $36 million contract.

Happ previously pitched for the Blue Jays from 2012-2014, and was traded to the Mariners for Michael Saunders before 2015. This contract will cover Happ's age 33-35 seasons.

He was likely headed for a 1- or 2-year deal considering how he performed while pitching for Seattle, but after Pittsburgh acquired Happ, he became elite, which boosted his value.

J.A. Happ IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP
With Seattle 108.2 6.79 2.65 1.08 0.464 4.12
With Pittsburgh 63.1 9.81 1.85 0.43 1.85 2.19

Happ is now the second pitcher this offseason to turn a small sample size into a lucrative contract; as Rich Hill signed a one year deal for $6 million based on 29 big league innings in 2015.

Many expected Happ to return to the Pirates, as there was interest on both sides. Signing with Pittsburgh also would have allowed Happ to remain with Ray Searage, the pitching coach who is largely credited with turning his season around.

While Happ was unequivocally fantastic with the Pirates, there's admittedly some concern by inking him to a three year contract. 2015 was by far his best overall season, and in his career, Happ has never eclipsed 172 innings in a single year, which also came this past season.

As it stands now, the Blue Jays rotation for 2016 will consist of Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, R.A. Dickey, Jesse Chavez, and now Happ. This latest move all but guarantees that David Price won't be suiting up for the Blue Jays again, despite Toronto being named as a potential landing spot.