It seems there’s no dominant starting pitcher available on the market, so the Yankees are looking to shore up an already dominant bullpen.
Multiple MLB insiders reported today that the Yankees are “heavy” in their pursuit of Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton, with that adjective coming from SNY’s Andy Martino. MLB Network’s Jim Bowden said the Yankees are in the lead along with the Houston Astros, and stated “negotiations are rounding third and heading for home.”
Bowden also noted that the Astros and Yankees were not alone, and his MLB Network colleague Ken Rosenthal reported that he heard the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox are also involved.
Britton would fill the role of the non-Aroldis Chapman lefty out of the Yankees bullpen. Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2014, lefties hit just .182/.242/.232 off of him in a 290-batter sample size. Plus, his experience in high-leverage situations would be valuable down the stretch.
The Yankees have been linked to Britton at various points this trade season, as well as now-Cleveland lefty Brad Hand. Rosenthal reported the Yankees had been in touch with the Padres about Hand, but that the Friars wanted Miguel Andújar in any trade for Hand. They ended up accepting one prospect (albeit a good one – Francisco Mejía) for Hand and Adam Cimber, who combined have like eight more years of control. Another example of teams demanding an overpay from the Yankees, but I digress.
Adding Britton to the Yankees bullpen would be an obvious upgrade not just over Chasen Shreve, but would also add another formidable arm to an already-scary bullpen down the stretch.