Heading into the season, the Yankees had arguably the most dominant bullpen in baseball history. Tonight, Brian Cashman made it stronger. After weeks of trade rumors, the Bombers landed Orioles closer Zach Britton in exchange for Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll, per multiple reports.
By now the book’s out on Britton. The left-hander is rounding back into form after missing the start of the season due to an injured Achilles tendon. His numbers don’t jump off the page — 3.45 ERA (4.43 FIP) — but there’s still a lot to like. He generates a robust number of groundballs (64.1%) and limits the long ball (0.57 HR/9).
Britton earns his pay with a bowling-ball sinker. According to some scouts, the pitch looks to be on the way back to top form:
#Yankees, like rest of sport, have seen Britton’s sinker moving closer to vintage state in last 6-8 outings. See chance to make pen more impenetrable, shorten games further with dubious rotation.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 25, 2018
Britton also comes with postseason experience. He tossed 4.5 innings in the 2014 playoffs, running a 3.86 ERA against the Tigers and Royals. You may also remember that Britton was famously left waiting during the 2016 Wild Card Game. Let’s hope the Yankees use him more effectively during a playoff push.
Tate, 24, stands out as the headliner. The right-hander has pitched to a 3.38 ERA with a 3.76 FIP over 82.2 innings at Double-A Trenton. He’s having a strong year, with an 8.17 K/9 rate that sits well above his career average. The number nine prospect in the Yankees system, per MLB.com, came over in the Carlos Beltran trade back in 2016.
Rogers, meanwhile, has had a strong season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 24-year-old pitched to a 3.95 ERA (4.23 FIP) over 109.1 innings. The Yankees selected the southpaw in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. He’s someone the Orioles could probably plug into the rotation as soon as this summer.
The final piece to the equation, Carroll, is a relief arm. The 25-year-old owns a 2.38 ERA (2.27 FIP) over 41.2 innings for the RailRiders. He’s racked up nine saves in the process. Carroll throws hard and uses a slider as his main secondary offering.
The deal has been agreed to, pending physicals. That’s no sure thing with Baltimore. The Yankees are about to cash in three Rule 5-eligible prospects for a potential relief ace, though. While that may sound expensive for a rental, the Bombers can absorb that kind of move. The Yankees are getting better, and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.