J.A. Happ is happy to still be a part of the Yankees organization heading into spring training and the upcoming 2020 season, considering there was the possibility of his being moved after the team signed Gerrit Cole to a monster $324 million contract.
Speaking to reporters down in Tampa, Fla., Happ said he reached out to Yankees GM Brian Cashman during the offseason in the midst of the trade rumors swirling around him.
"I understand that that's kind of the nature of the business. But I'm certainly happy I'm here," Happ said. "...This is the place I'd like to be, for sure."
Happ said he texted Cole "Hopefully we're teammates again" once he signed with the Yankees back in December -- the pitchers were both members of the Pirates back in 2015.
But now with his spot on the roster set (for now), Happ is focusing on improving from his shaky showing in 2019. Happ finished the season with a 4.91 ERA and gave up 34 home runs.
Now despite MLB reports in December detailing changes in baseballs last season, Happ, who said there were mechanical inconsistencies (like how he used his hips) while pitching, didn't want to make any excuses.
"I don't like to make excuses so I think any answer other than I need to better is not the right answer. I do need to be better and I plan on being better," Happ said.
Happ did, however, add that the report was indeed a bit upsetting to see from a pitcher's standpoint: "To the effect that that report came out and affected a lot of players, not just myself, it's disappointing."