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“I’m trying to keep my head out of it either way, as opposed to trying to think of where you would want to go and all that stuff,” Halladay said at the time.
“That gets complicated, so I’m trying to keep emotions out of it, as much as I can.” J. Happ, the sole Blue Jays all-star in this summer of mess and misery, found himself in a similar spot Monday during the media availabilities ahead of Tuesday’s all-star game at Nationals Park.
Nine years later, he’s the prime trade asset general manager Ross Atkins has to peddle as the franchise once again looks to reset its core.
And just like Halladay, Happ handled the rote line of questions with the same poise he carries on the mound, finding a way to smile through the agonizing exercise as he seeks to make the most of his first all-star selection.
“It was nice to have that conversation.” The GM isn’t keeping Happ abreast of discussions as they go along – “How much information can you give until something is done and how much would you want?
” said Happ – but a trade is the front office’s clear first option.
“Either way I’ll be prepared but it’s not something I focus on.” Unlike both that AL teammate and Halladay, the strong expectation is that Happ will be traded between now and July 31 as the Blue Jays look to add pieces for their reset.The Brewers, Cubs, Yankees and Mariners are among the teams to have shown some interest, per industry sources, and with Josh Donaldson’s status uncertain, Atkins needs to make the return for Happ count.Over the last couple of weeks Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has had Happ into his office to discuss the current stresses while Atkins reached out to see “how I’m feeling mentally and stuff,” the 35-year-old said.“I’ve been in Toronto for three years, physically I have a lot of things there, my wife and kids are there, the whole process of having to potentially uproot that is some of the anxiety that’s involved, rather than the playing part. “But again, these are all ifs, this could not happen also.That’s part of it.” Toward that end, one of his American League teammates came over to Happ and told him how he spent all of last July surrounded by trade speculation but ultimately didn’t go anywhere.