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Pirates interested in re-signing J.A. Happ

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Pirates have interest in re-signing J.A. Happ, according to Rob Biertempfel, who also notes that Happ has at least some interest in returning.

"It's a team I would definitely consider, absolutely," Happ said. "Whatever happens, happens. I'm happy with where I'm at right now, and we'll see what's down the road." ...

"There is interest," general manager Neal Huntington said. "It's just a matter of how it all comes together, how it works for him and how it works for us."

Happ sounds a bit noncommittal here, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything at this stage. It's reasonable of him to keep his options open right now.

In any case, it would be great if the Pirates could keep Happ. They need at least one more starting pitcher, for one thing, and they plainly discovered something in Happ this season that no one else had been able to locate before.

Ironically, if there's any barrier to Happ's return, it's the good work the Pirates have helped him do. If they hadn't traded for him in July, he probably would have continued quietly posting an ERA in the fours in Seattle. Then the Bucs could have signed him to a one-year deal that everyone would have hated, and he would have been great for the Pirates in 2016. Now that he posted a 1.85 ERA down the stretch, though, the cat is out of the bag, and he's going to get at least two years from someone, probably at a pretty significant salary. Happ is about to turn 33 and has "only" made about $20 million in his career. His next contract could equal that total.