The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with pitcher J.A. Happ, signing the towering left-hander to a one-year deal worth $3.7 million.

Happ, 30, was acquired midway through last season from the Houston Astros. He made 10 appearances for Toronto, including six starts, posting a 4.69 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.

With the Jays adding three starting pitchers to the roster this offseason — R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle — Happ was squeezed out of the rotation and will be forced to compete for a job in an equally crowded bullpen.

GM Alex Anthopoulos said Happ is considered the sixth starter on the club's depth chart, and would be the first to move into the rotation if one of the top-five starters is injured. But if Happ doesn't win a bullpen job he could join the rotation in Triple-A Buffalo, because he has minor-league options available.

In six big-league seasons Happ is 35-35, with a 4.19 ERA, 1.388 WHIP and 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Jays still have two arbitration-eligible players left to sign: backup catcher Josh Thole and utility player Emilio Bonifacio. The deadline to reach a deal is 1 p.m. Friday.

If a deal is not reached by the deadline, players and clubs will resolve the salary conflict at an arbitration hearing next month.