LAS VEGAS — During a slow-moving winter meetings, the New York Yankees might finally be ready to strike a deal for starting pitcher J.A. Happ.
The Yankees and the free agent left-hander were reportedly working toward an agreement on what could be a three-year deal, though no deal was imminent as of late Wednesday morning, according to a club source.
But if the Yankees and Happ can find common ground, that would complete the club’s starting rotation and streamline the focus on adding bullpen help – and perhaps adding Manny Machado.
The Yankees and Machado are scheduled to meet after the winter meetings, according to a report by Fancred.com. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would not comment on that report when asked on Tuesday.
Happ, who turned 36 in October, went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Yankees, after being acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline.
But Happ stumbled in his American League Division Series start against the eventual world champion Boston Red Sox, a club he had performed well against in recent seasons.
The Yankees' interest in Happ was clear from the start, though the team was exploring trade options — some on a large scale — in a relatively thin starter's market; the Yankees were not willing to meet the asking prices of their top free agent target, Patrick Corbin or Nathan Eovaldi.
Corbin signed a six-year deal with the Washington Nationals. Eovaldi signed a four-year deal with the Red Sox.
“Happ is aware of our comfort level and I know what he’s trying to accomplish, and we’ll see if we all match up,’’ Cashman said earlier this week, without specifying contract length or dollars. “If not, he’ll match up somewhere else.’’
With Happ, the Yankees rotation would be: RHP Luis Severino, LHP James Paxton, RHP Masahiro Tanaka, Happ and LHP CC Sabathia.
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