SEATTLE, Wash. - Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has acquired left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Michael Saunders.
"We feel that J.A. is a nice fit to slide in to our rotation in 2015," Zduriencik said. "They say you can never have enough starting pitching, and it is especially true that you can never have enough quality starting pitching. Pitching is our foundation here, and Happ will help us in that area."
Happ, 32, is under contract through the 2015 season after signing a two-year extension with the Blue Jays last season. He went 11-11 with a 4.22 ERA (74 ER, 158.0 IP) with 133 strikeouts in 30 games, including 26 starts, for Toronto in 2014. In 13 starts following the All-Star Break, Happ posted a 3.56 ERA (32 ER, 81.0 IP), while limiting opponents to a .239 batting average. He has tossed at least 140.0 innings in three of the last four seasons and has four 140.0+ inning seasons in his career.
The left-hander was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the 3rd round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Northwestern University. Over parts of eight seasons with Philadelphia, Houston and Toronto, he has posted a 51-53 record with a 4.24 ERA (396 ER, 840.2 IP) in 164 appearances including 140 starts. He finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 when he was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA (54 ER, 166.0 IP) in 35 games including 23 starts with Houston.
Saunders, 28, was limited to 78 games with Seattle after making two stints on the disabled list last season, batting .273 (63x231) with 38 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 8 home runs and 34 RBI. He was originally selected by Mariners in the 11th round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Lambrick Park Secondary School in Victoria, British Columbia. Over six seasons with Seattle, Saunders hit .231 (396x1716) with 226 runs scored, 82 doubles, 14 triples, 51 home runs and 182 RBI in 553 games.