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Trading for Happ another route for Crew to take

MLB.com @feinsand

Although they continue to be connected as a possible suitor for one of the Mets' two big arms, the Brewers might have their sights set on a different starting pitcher: J.A. Happ.

According to a source, the Blue Jays have been extensively scouting Milwaukee's system, suggesting there could be interest on the Brewers' part in the left-handed Happ.

Although they continue to be connected as a possible suitor for one of the Mets' two big arms, the Brewers might have their sights set on a different starting pitcher: J.A. Happ.

According to a source, the Blue Jays have been extensively scouting Milwaukee's system, suggesting there could be interest on the Brewers' part in the left-handed Happ.

Despite his poor outing Sunday against the Tigers, Happ is expected to be one of the better starting pitchers dealt this month. He's 10-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 17 starts this season, posting eight quality starts.

The Yankees and Mariners have been previously connected to Happ, who is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season. The 35-year-old is in the final season of his three-year, $36 million contract with the Blue Jays, whose disappointing season has them in fourth place in the AL East.

The Brewers have been mentioned as a possible destination for Manny Machado, though it appears that adding a starting pitcher is a bigger priority for general manager David Stearns. Milwaukee has the prospects to get a deal done for Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but adding an arm such as Happ wouldn't force the Brewers to put as big a dent into their system.

Wade Miley is on the 60-day disabled list with a right oblique strain and Jimmy Nelson's rehab from right shoulder surgery is going slowly, while Zach Davies suffered a setback during his most recent rehab start, leaving a hole in the Brewers' rotation.

"If we're going to go and add to this starting staff, we're going to want it to be somebody who can really impact the team," Stearns told reporters on hand for Davies' outing over the weekend in Grand Chute, Wis. "We think we have really good depth in our starting rotation, so for us to go out and trade some young talent to acquire a starting pitcher, it's not going to be just to add to that depth. It's going to be a guy who we think can help lead the rotation."

Happ obviously wouldn't have the same impact as deGrom or Syndergaard, who are both considered frontline starters and are under team control for multiple years. But if the Mets' asking price proves to be too costly for Milwaukee, Happ would provide a veteran arm with postseason experience, having pitched in the playoffs for the Phillies in 2008-09 and the Blue Jays in '16.

Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com.

J.A. Happ