With no impact starting pitcher on the market and the top left-handed reliever (Brad Hand) off the market, Brian Cashman swung a deal with the Baltimore Orioles to acquire their dominant closer Zach Britton. Britton comes to the Yanks in exchange for Cody Carroll (AAA, No. 15 prospect), Josh Rogers (AAA, unranked) and Dillon Tate (AA, No. 9 prospect).
Britton gives the Yankees yet another power arm in their bullpen, and a much-needed presence from the left side. Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2014, he has a 1.72 ERA and has racked up 139 saves for Baltimore. The most home runs he has ever allowed in a season is four, and that came in 2014.
Britton relies on three pitches:
- Sinker (93.1%) – avg. 94.4 mph
- Slider (5.6%) – avg. 80.7 mph
- Four Seamer (1.2%) – avg. 93.3 mph
He’ll likely become a co-setup man with Dellin Betances, being used much like Andrew Miller was deployed in 2015 and 2016. He’ll start off as a one-inning guy, having only pitched more than one inning 10 times since the beginning of 2016.
Going the other way are the Yankees’ Nos. 9 and 15 prospects in Tate and Carroll. Rogers is unranked by MLB Pipeline. All three would have been caught up in the inevitable 40-man roster crunch at the end of the year. Brian Cashman normally does his best to maximize their value rather than lose them for nothing in the Rule 5 Draft.
Dillon Tate, the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft, came to the Yankees at the 2016 trade deadline from the Texas Rangers in the Carlos Beltrán trade alongside Erik Swanson and Nick Green. In 15 starts for Double-A Trenton, he had a 5-2 record and 3.38 ERA. Per his scouting report, “Whether Tate will wind up as a starter or reliever is unclear. Though he throws strikes with all four of his pitches, he doesn’t miss as many bats as he should with his pure stuff, which could play up in shorter stints.”
Cody Carroll was drafted in the 22nd round by the Yankees in 2015. He had nine saves for the RailRiders and a 2.38 ERA in 32 bullpen appearances. He reportedly sits “at 96-98 mph and touches 101” with his fastball. If he can master his mechanics, “he could serve as a high-leverage reliever and perhaps even a closer at the big league level.”
Josh Rogers was an 11th round pick of the Yankees in that same 2015 draft. He really put it together for Triple-A SWB in the first half of the season. He went 5-3 with a stellar 2.45 ERA through the first two months of the season. However, the wheels have fallen off a bit since June began. Rogers has a 1-5 record and 5.85 ERA in nine starts since then. He is known as a crafty lefty, with four pitches that need to be precise in order for him to succeed.
That trade feeling began to arise early in the evening when Tate, who had just been activated from the disabled list with a quad injury, was a healthy scratch for Double-A Trenton. The Yankees had been connected to Britton for a few days, though not in any capacity that would suggest a trade was close. That momentum grew Tuesday morning, and became much more apparent with Tate’s apparent scratch to keep him healthy.
Just like the Jeurys Familia situation in the Bronx last week, Britton did not warm up for the Orioles in a save situation against Boston. He sat in the bullpen one last time and watched Brad Brach get the final three outs in what would prove to be his final few minutes in black and orange.