Number 6 – Pirates Acquire J.A. Happ
The Pirates were 59-42 coming into the 2015 July deadline. They could have used one more bat, and starting pitcher. While the Pirates passed on the flashier David Price, they acquired a much lesser known name – lefty J.A. Happ.
Happ looked like a number 5 starter when he came to the Pirates, but he turned out to be one of the saviors of the second half of the Bucs’ season. In 63 and a third innings, Happ posted a 1.85 ERA, 2.19 FIP, and 1.03 WHIP. Happ even posted a better ERA (2.30), and FIP (2.22) than Price, while also posting the same amount of bWAR (2.6) after each were traded at the deadline.
The Pirates didn’t have to give up much for the lefty. They had to surrender right-handed prospect Adrian Sampson to the Mariners. While Sampson finished out 2014 as the team’s 19th best prospect, he was unranked in 2015. Sampson only pitched just one for the Mariners. This lone outing saw him pitch just 4.1 innings in a game in 2016. In the 2016-2017 off-season, Sampson was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers, thus ending his Seattle tenure.
At the time of the trade Pirate fans were upset. They ripped the Happ trade to no extent and viewed it as the Pirates not doing enough to help with their postseason push. Well, Happ wound up pitching better than any other starting pitcher moved at the trade deadline that season and helped the Pirates win 98 games.