Jan. 11: The Yankees have officially announced Britton’s signing on Twitter.
To clear a roster spot for Britton, they’ve designated infielder Hanser Alberto for assignment. He was acquired in a waiver claim from the Texas Rangers on Nov. 2. He was hitting .322/.366/.392 with one homer and 16 RBIs in 43 games for the Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League. Alberto lasted on the Yankees 40-man roster for two months and nine days.
Jan. 5: With the ink barely dried on David Robertson‘s two-year, $23 million contract with Philadelphia, the Yankees struck a deal to bring back reliever Zach Britton. The deal guarantees the first two years of the contract, a two-year team option after year two, or a one-year player option should the Yankees decline it.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report momentum towards a deal, and Jeff Passan of ESPN confirmed shortly after that an agreement was in place.
That contract has become somewhat of a Scott Boras specialty, having debuted these paired options in contracts for Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Yusei Kikuchi and now Britton. Britton will earn a $1 million raise from his final year of arbitration salary, and will remain in the Bronx for at least two seasons. From what I gather, the Yankees have the first choice on the two-year team option, and after that, Britton can either opt in for 2021 or test free agency again.
After coming to the Yankees in a Trade Deadline deal for prospects Cody Carroll, Josh Rogers and Dillon Tate, Britton pitched to a fantastic 2.88 ERA and stellar 77.8% ground-ball rate in 25 outings for the Yankees. With his impending free agency approaching, Britton fielded questions about a return to the Bronx, and he always seemed open to the idea.
The Yankees had always said they were looking at two relievers, and it will be interesting to see the direction they take as the market begins to heat up. They’ve been very connected to Adam Ottavino recently, but he would be an expensive piece for a bullpen already stocked with expensive pieces. I’m very into the idea of ownership going full Evil Empire and securing Ottavino, as well as Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado. They’re definitely going over the first luxury tax threshold, and they should make it worth it.