Sherman suggests that New York is trying to move Happ in order to make room on the payroll for right-hander Gerrit Cole. The Yankees are expected to aggressively pursue Cole, and it's looking like the ace will command a contract worth significantly more than $300 million.
New York's payroll will likely cross the 2020 luxury tax threshold set at $208 million, but the Yankees will face further surtaxes if they exceed it by $20 million. An even greater penalty will be applied if they go $40 million over the threshold.
Happ, 37, is set to earn $17 million in 2020. If he pitches 165 innings or makes 27 starts in the campaign, a $17-million option will automatically vest for 2021, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.
The veteran southpaw looked great during his initial run in the Bronx. He went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 11 starts after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018. After the season, New York signed him to a two-year, $34-million contract, and things went sideways. Happ went 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.30 WHIP across 31 appearances in 2019.