J.A. Happ, Minnesota Twins agree to deal

Veteran left-hander J.A. Happ and the Minnesota Twins have agreed to a one-year deal, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal, which is pending a physical, is worth $8 million, according to multiple reports.

Happ, a free agent, will stay in the American League after spending the past two-and-a-half seasons with the New York Yankees. He will join a Minnesota rotation that incorporates Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda, a group that will look to help the Twins to a third consecutive AL Central title this season. Minnesota finished third in the AL last season with a team ERA of 3.58.

Happ will be just the second offseason addition by the Twins, who also added relief pitcher Hansel Robles. Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill became free agents.

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A 12-year veteran, he was acquired by the Yankees from the Toronto Blue Jays in July 2018, went 7-0 in 11 starts and was rewarded with a $34 million, two-year contract. He went 12-8 in 2019 and struggled at the start of last season, prompting the Yankees to skip his turn.

He got stronger as the season went on and concluded with a 2-2 record and 3.47 ERA in nine starts. His $17 million option for 2021, which the Yankees declined to exercise, initially would have become guaranteed with 27 starts or 165 innings, but the threshold was reduced to 10 starts with the shortened season and he fell one short.

Happ didn’t come right out and say it, but the left-hander seemed to imply at the time that the Yankees had limited his starts to avoid his option vesting for next season, telling reporters, “I think it’s fairly clear.”

A one-time All-Star, Happ has a career record of 123-92 and a 3.98 ERA. He has played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates as well as the Blue Jays and Yankees.

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