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Happ trade looking unlikely for Yankees

January 24, 2020 is keeping track of all the latest Yankees-related free agent and trade rumors right here. is keeping track of all the latest Yankees-related free agent and trade rumors right here.

Cashman says Happ will be Yankees' No. 5 starter

Jan. 23: There was some speculation that the Yankees would look to trade J.A. Happ this offseason, especially after they signed Gerrit Cole to a record nine-year, $324 million contract. But Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network revealed Saturday that general manager Brian Cashman said Happ will open 2020 as the team's No. 5 starter after Cole, Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka.

Happ, 37, posted a 4.91 ERA over 161 1/3 innings last season, and he's owed $17 million this year. He also has a $17 million option that will vest for 2021 if he throws at least 165 innings or makes 27 starts in '20.

Trading Happ would help the Yankees cut their Competitive Balance Tax number down a bit. Currently, Cot's Baseball Contracts projects the club to have a CBT figure of roughly $258 million in 2020, well above the $208 million threshold. But given Happ's age, contract and performance a year ago, it's fair to wonder if New York received much trade interest, if any, in the left-hander.

Happ became more important for the team when Major League Baseball served Domingo Germán with an 81-game suspension following an investigation under the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy. He already missed 18 games last season while on administrative leave, so he'll be ineligible for the first 63 games of 2020. The earliest date he can return to the Major League roster is June 5.

Behind Happ, the Yankees have Jordan Montgomery, who made just two appearances last season after missing more than a year while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and No. 1 prospect Deivi Garcia.