Happ heading back to Toronto

Jays sign returning pitcher for $36 million over three years

The Toronto Blue Jays have made their first splashy signing this offseason, inking starting pitcher J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36-million contract.

Happ started last season on a rough note, posting a dismal 4-6 record with the Seattle Mariners.  He rounded into form after being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates during last season’s trade deadline, posting a stellar 7-2 record to finish off the year.

“In Pittsburgh, my main goal over there was just to get back to the way I was throwing earlier in the year.”  Happ said in a conference call last week.  “I thought I was throwing the ball great earlier in the year.”

This is Happ’s second stint with the Jays.  He was previously flipped to the Jays prior to the start of last season for Canadian-born outfielder Michael Saunders.

“We were really happy Toronto was being really aggressive.  When I left here, I really enjoyed the people working, going to the field … everybody…. Watching from afar, what this team did last year, it’s fun to watch this team.  I wanted to come back and be a part of that.”

Even though the Jays were able to lock up starting pitcher Marco Estrada to a two- year 26 million dollar contract, there are still several lingering issues with the Jays rotation.  The Jays have yet to lock up all-star pitcher David Price to a contract extension, as well as factor in the potential loss of starting pitcher Mark Buehrle to retirement.  Happ does provide the Jays with solid rotation depth but still doesn’t address the issue of acquiring a front of the rotation starter.

Hopefully the Jays can pull the trigger this offseason to solidify their starting rotation.