It’s official. The Yankees made their first big splash before the trade deadline yesterday evening. It began with reports that the Yankees were getting close to acquiring Zach Britton from the Orioles. By the time yesterday’s game against the Rays was finished, Jon Heyman noted that the deal had been agreed upon. For Britton, the Yankees sent Dillon Tate, Cody Carroll, and Josh Rogers to Baltimore. So, how did they end up here?
Double A RHP Dillon Tate, #Yankees’ No. 9 prospect per @MLBPipeline will indeed headline Britton deal with #Orioles if completed, per source. Fourth overall pick by TEX in 2015, traded to NYY for Carlos Beltran at 2017 deadline.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2018
The Orioles pitching woes are quite well known, by this point, so it’s no shock that they were looking for pitching prospects. After all, they’re running out of pitchers who will give up home runs to Aaron Judge. The fact that Tate headlined this deal, however, goes back to a random June game back in 2014.
In 2014, Carlos Beltran hit a walkoff HR against Zach Britton.— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) July 25, 2018
In 2016, Beltran was traded for Dillon Tate.
In 2018, Tate is traded for Britton.
Time is a flat circle.https://t.co/P57q8iAPmH
How things have changed in four years. We’ve gone from making Carlos Beltran resurrection jokes to Revolutionary War jokes.
“Britton to Yankees” is what woulda happened if the Revolutionary War had taken a crazy turn— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 25, 2018
This is the most excited anyone has been about Britton becoming a Yankee since 1776.— Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB) July 25, 2018
Those that are familiar with me know that I, like some of my other PSA counterparts (okay just Greg Kirkland), judge Yankee acquisitions based on the ability to make puns with their names.
I think he’ll be just fine here. In all seriousness, though. The Yankees took a strength of theirs and made it even stronger. The addition of Britton to the bullpen is unreal.
Talk about a powerful pen: Chapman. Britton. Betances. Green. Robertson. Holder. Warren.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) July 25, 2018
so...— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 25, 2018
Chad Green slider ➡️ David Robertson cutter ➡️ Dellin Betances curveball ➡️ Zach Britton sinker ➡️ Aroldis Chapman
...seems like a good bullpen
From @YankeesPR :The addition of Britton gives the Yankees bullpen 4 of the 14 active pitchers who have a career relief ERA under 2.50 with at least 100.0 relief innings: Britton (1.69, first); Chad Green (1.88, third); Aroldis Chapman (2.20, eighth); Dellin Betances (2.33, 12th)— Erik Boland (@eboland11) July 25, 2018
The Yankees' new bullpen, which is ridiculous pic.twitter.com/Ocuhy3O7Di— 10 Cent Beer Knight (@alexwarneke) July 25, 2018
Good luck, everybody. Now, one truth that we need to accept is that the Yankees were only able to get Britton at that cost because his value has diminished a bit recently. Back in December, Britton suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon which sidelined him until recently. He’s been a bit shaky overall since returning, but he seems to be rounding into his normal self, which is what the Yankees are counting on.
Lowest ERA Since 2014 as a Reliever - Min. 200 Appearances— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 25, 2018
Zach Britton 1.72
Wade Davis 1.76
Andrew Miller 1.86
Aroldis Chapman 2.04
Career WHIP as reliever = 1.02— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) July 25, 2018
That’ll certainly play. It also helps that he has some success against the Red Sox team that the Yankees are chasing.
Zach Britton Career vs Red Sox as Reliever:— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) July 25, 2018
.228 opp BA
74.2% GB Pct
Can’t argue with those numbers. If Britton lives up to his ability, than no one will be complaining. The Yankees got better yesterday, but at what cost?
Here’s what one trusted scout thinks of Dillon Tate, the headliner in the NYY-BAL Britton trade: “He’s a future No. 4 with potentially more impact in the pen. Big fastball, plus slider, makings of a useable changeup.” Scout likes the deal for the Orioles.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 25, 2018
If it is indeed Carroll, Rogers and Tate for Britton and all is finalized, those 3 all would have had to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason or risk being lost to Rule 5 and #Yankees have a pitching jam in that area.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 25, 2018
That certainly makes it an easier pill to swallow. Plus, besides bolstering the Yankees bullpen, the team gets the added benefit of keeping Britton away from the competition.
Additionally: by paying the extra value for Britton, NYY also keep him away from Astros, Red Sox.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 25, 2018
It wasn’t cheap, but considering that the Astros and Red Sox were both in the hunt for Britton, keeping him away from both of those teams will benefit down the stretch. Additionally, the Dodgers, Cubs, Brewers, Rockies, and Braves were all linked to him not too long ago. At least one former teammate of Tate and Rogers is taking the news in stride.
Josh Rogers roommate, Justus Sheffield, was screaming "Somebody has to pay my rent!" in the clubhouse in the aftermath of the trade news.— Austin Petolillo (@AustinPSports) July 25, 2018
The biggest question remaining is how does this affect the Yankees’ luxury tax goals? It’s no secret that the Yankees are determined to stay under the $197 million threshold, and there’s no chance they go over it. Where does Britton’s salary leave them?
If the Britton deal is completed, the Yankees will still have about $10 million in wiggle room to stay beneath the $197 million CBT threshold.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 25, 2018
While the Yankees are taking on Britton’s full remaining salary, the good news is that they still have some room to play with. This gives them room to address their biggest need, which is a starting pitcher.
It’ll be interesting to see how Aaron Boone uses Britton. One thing we do know, however, is that he won’t be displacing Aroldis Chapman as the closer.
Boone said even with the addition of Britton, Chapman will remain the closer. “Chappy’s our closer.” Said he envisions Britton in “a variety of different roles.”— Erik Boland (@eboland11) July 25, 2018
Personally, I think having this many closer-quality arms allows you to not have any one closer, but as long as Boone isn’t dedicated to each reliever owning a specific inning, it can still work. Luckily, it looks like Britton has no qualms about joining a team he considered a rival.
Zach Britton’s reaction to joining the #Yankees: “Right now, I’m just excited to get on a winning team and hopefully do some good things. If you have a chance to chase a World Series ring, which obviously they do, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 25, 2018
Leaving the Orioles and not having to face Aaron Judge must do wonders for a pitcher’s morale. His new teammates are excited to have him, too, because they know what he can do.
Aaron Hicks on facing Zach Britton: “he’s just a tough at-bat. When a guy throws 98 mph and it goes straight down it’s kinda hard to hit. It’s not easy. It’s not a fun at-bat.”— Erik Boland (@eboland11) July 25, 2018
Chapman on acquiring Britton: "I believe he’s one of the best relievers in the game. Having the opportunity to add someone like that, with so much talent, would be very helpful to us.”— Erik Boland (@eboland11) July 25, 2018
This should be a fun ride to the finish. The Yankees definitely got better yesterday and everyone seems to agree. Hopefully Cashman can keep the momentum going and get a starter before the trade deadline. For now, though, getting Zach Britton is a good a starting point.