Will the Yankees Try to Make a Play for Ian Happ?

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Will the Yankees Try to Make a Play for Ian Happ?

Chicago Cubs

God bless Joel Sherman, who is offering up a lot of trade scenarios out of New York this offseason. From Yu Darvish and the Mets to Giancarlo Stanton and the Cubs, while these things fall short of being actually-in-discussion trade rumors, they do at least provide an opportunity to consider where things stand.

Sherman’s latest involves a look at how the Yankees address second base in a post-DJ LeMahieu world, and among the suggestions? Ian Happ:

The Yankees once had the choice when trading Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs to center the return around Torres, Happ or Eloy Jimenez. They chose wisely. But Happ keeps growing as a player. Perhaps his play at second base is too rough. But he is improving as a center fielder. Happ is a switch-hitter who damages righties, and plays hard and smart. If the Yankees took Craig Kimbrel’s $17 million, could they lower the return on Happ?

First of all, I just want to note that this is actually the second time Sherman has opined on the Yankees’ desire to acquire Happ. Second of all, I just want to note that even though his article is about second base, and even though he acknowledges that just ain’t happening with Happ … he wanted to include him anyway. Either Sherman really, really likes Happ, or the Yankees really, really like Happ (or both). And if the Yankees are still not high on Clint Frazier or don’t see Mike Tauchman as an outfield regular, then there’s a spot out there for Happ.

Although Happ is entering his arbitration years, he’s controlled for three more seasons and pretty clearly showed last year just how impactful he can be at the plate. Perhaps more importantly, he’s already demonstrated how adaptable he is at improving his offensive game – something not every Cubs positional player has shown. I know we talk frequently about the whole “you can only get value in trade when guys are valuable” thing, but I’m not so sure Happ is a guy whose value I think the Cubs should be looking to swap out. You’d have to get a HAUL, and not just use Happ as a vehicle to save some short-term cash.

From where I sit, the only version of a trade involving Happ that makes sense is a much larger one that fundamentally restructures the Cubs in a significant way. That is to say, as part of a bigger deal – or series of deals – that go the “tear it down” route we discussed earlier this week. That route is pretty hard to put together, especially if the desire is to be competitive again as soon as 2022. You trade a guy like Happ, well, the return better be such a no-brainer in the bigger picture that you can’t say no. It’s hard to imagine the Yankees making that happen, but maybe they really, really love Happ.



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.