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Yankees agree to acquire Zach Britton, summon the reinforcements

The Yankees bolstered a position of strength by adding Britton.

Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Yankees may have missed out on Manny Machado, but they were able to work out a different deal with Baltimore. After a few weeks of reported interest in Zach Britton, the two teams reached an agreement today. New York ends up with the reliever, and the Orioles will receive starting pitchers Dillon Tate and Josh Rogers, along with Triple-A reliever Cody Carroll. Tyler covered the news, but here are a few quick thoughts on the matter:

The price is right for a rental

This seems like a fair package, regardless of the fact that Britton is a rental. The Yankees aren’t even losing any of their top prospects. Tate, the Yankees ninth best prospect on, has struggled with injuries throughout his career. He has had a solid season (3.38 ERA), but is far from the majors. Carroll and Rogers have also put together strong performances in Scranton this year, but it’s impossible to know if they will be able to duplicate that success in the majors.

Britton offers upside

If Brian Cashman isn’t able to make anything else happen, at least we know that the Yankees will exit the trade deadline with a better bullpen. This might not be the most exciting trade in the world—especially if you are just looking at Britton’s season stats—but the numbers don’t tell the full story.

The left-hander didn’t make his season debut until June 12th, having missed the first part of the season while recovering from an Achilles injury. He has posted a 3.45 ERA (4.43 FIP) through 15.2 innings. He had one spectacularly bad outing on June 22nd when he surrendered four earned runs while managing to get just one out. That blew up his ERA. He had one other rocky outing at the end of June, but hasn’t allowed a run in the eight appearances since. At the very least, he represents an improvement over Chasen Shreve. At his best, he is closer material.

The Yankees could use the upgrade

While it’s true that the Yankees weren’t exactly hurting for bullpen help, at this point the team needs to upgrade wherever they can. The starting pitching market is weak, so it makes sense to add another elite arm to the ‘pen. There is also the fact that several of the Yankees relievers are having down seasons. Adam Warren has not pitched well recently, David Robertson hasn’t been his usual self, and Aroldis Chapman is dealing with knee tendinitis. Dellin Betances has been lights out for the past few months, but he tends to fall off at the end of the season. If needed, Britton could step in as closer.

This move also makes sense because Britton is set to become a free agent in 2019. He is only owed about $5 million through the remainder of this year, so the Yankees can add him without going over the luxury tax threshold. They also still have the resources to go after starting pitching help, which is what Cashman plans to do. According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees are “determined” to add a starting pitcher in the next week. Whether that will be a rental like J.A. Happ or a Michael Fulmer-type trade remains to be seen.

Would I have preferred to see the Yankees pry Jacob deGrom away from the Mets? Sure, but at the end of the day, Britton makes the team better than it was yesterday. With the Bombers down six games to the Red Sox, they need all the help they can get.