Blue Jays talk up JA Happ, say he'd excel with Yankees, too

TORONTO — We know the Yankees want to add a veteran starter before the July 31 trade deadline.

We know GM Brian Cashman can take on some payroll without defying managing partner Hal Steinbrenner’s orders to keep the payroll under baseball’s luxury tax threshold.

And we now know that the Yankees’ urgency to upgrade their starting rotation surely increased again Friday night when Sonny Gray pulled a Sonny Gray in a 6-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

By Saturday night, the Yankees might be more motivated to get a deal done with the Blue Jays for ace left-hander J.A. Happ, who will start a 4:07 p.m. matinee for Toronto at Rogers Centre.

A 10-game winner for 41-46 Blue Jays club that figures to be trade-deadline sellers, Happ probably is the Yankees’ best hope to add a frontline starter because we’re hearing there’s a better chance man will set foot on Jupiter before Mets ownership would OK trading Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard to their beyond-hated crosstown rivals.

There’s a lot to like about Happ, who is 10-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 17 starts. For instance, he has great career numbers against the Red Sox and Astros. His stats are very good in Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium, too.

And, while the Blue Jays probably will be able to get a nice return of young players for Happ, it won’t be crazy big because he’s in the final year of a three-year, $36-million contract.

Can Happ be a difference maker for the Yankees, perhaps a final piece to a World Series puzzle?

Well, we asked a few Blue Jays players about Happ on Friday and received glowing reviews.

Here are comments we tracked down plus a scouting report on Happ from two Yankees:

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