The Pirates have lost out on J.A. Happ, who has signed with the Blue Jays for three years and $36 million.
The Bucs will now have to look elsewhere for rotation help. Fortunately, there's still plenty available, but Happ looked like a great fit for a Pirates team that really could have used him. The $36 million Happ received would have been unthinkable before the Bucs acquired him last summer, and it's the same amount the Pirates gave Francisco Liriano last offseason after Liriano had two strong seasons with them. Which is to say that $36 million seems like a lot for Happ. That said, it isn't by much -- I initially thought that Happ might get something like the two-year deal Edinson Volquez got from the Royals, but most of the talk surrounding Happ this offseason suggested he would get three years.
In any case, this marks the second consecutive offseason that the Blue Jays have given a big multi-year deal to a player who turned his career around in a Pirates uniform. The first, of course, was Russell Martin -- here's hoping the Pirates can replace Happ as effectively as they replaced Martin last winter. Happ actually previously pitched for two and a half years with the Blue Jays, from 2012 through 2014, and didn't do much of anything there, so the Jays appear to be banking on him pitching more as he did in Pittsburgh than as he did in his last stint in Toronto.