Report: Phillies Interested in Reunion With Happ
We have heard plenty of trade rumors lately, some of them around former Phillies left-handed starter Cole Hamels. A trade deadline trade would enable Hamels to be present at the club's 10-year reunion the first weekend of August. Hamels is just one of three active players who were on the 2008 roster. But that Hamels scenario might come true for a different member of that 2008 club.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Phillies are interested in their former draft pick and left-handed starter J.A. Happ:
The left-hander ranks behind Machado and his Baltimore teammate, Zach Britton, on the Phillies' wish list, but there is definite interest, according to a league source.
In fact, the Blue Jays have spent much time scouting the Phillies' minor-league system recently, according to a league source.
Happ would give the Phillies a left-handed starter for their all-righty rotation.
While the Phillies traded Happ to the Houston Astros as part of the Roy Oswalt trade, Happ really did not find his footing as a strong major league starter until his 2015 campaign, split between the Seattle Mariners and the Pittsburgh Pirates. A trade deadline acquisition then, Happ went 7-2 with a 1.85 earned run average with the Pirates.
A free agent thereafter, Happ signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and blossomed into an All-Star. Happ won 20 games for the Blue Jays in 2016. After a strong 2017, Happ was particularly strong in the first half of the 2018 season, going 10-3 through the end of June, which led to a 2018 All-Star selection.
Happ's last three starts have been tough on the trade candidate, going 0-3 with a 9.75 earned run average in three July starts. A few bad starts in a row are not likely to remove the value he could bring to the club. There are plenty of scouts at the Happ starts to see if there is anything that might be physically wrong, which is the real concern.
Happ was drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2004 draft and made his major league debut with the Phillies in 2007 in a spot start against the New York Mets. After four starts and four bullpen appearances with the Phillies in late 2008, the Phillies carried Happ on their postseason roster en route to a World Series victory.