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Yankees acquire Zach Britton, per reports

The best bullpen in baseball got even best-er.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees may not have acquired Manny Machado, but they got an Oriole, alright: Zach Britton. According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, the Yankees have a deal “...for multiple prospects... close to done. finalizing. Drury not in latest deal on table.”

As we all know, the Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball, and possibly one of the greatest relief corps of all time. Here is where they rank in the following statistical categories:

  • fWAR: 1st (6.7)
  • ERA-: 1st (65)
  • FIP-: 1st (70)
  • WPA: 3rd (7.73)
  • RA9-WAR: 1st (6.8)

The better way to think about this deal, then, is that Britton replaces the worst pitcher on the Yankees’ depth chart, who is likely Chasen Shreve, sporting a 100 ERA- over 36 innings.

Britton is still a question mark, though, so it makes much more sense as a Britton-over-Shreve construction. Here’s a chart, apropos of nothing:

After a four-year stretch of a 259 (!!!) ERA+, including a 0.54 ERA (803 ERA+!!!!) in 2016, he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon injury that kept him on the shelf over the past year. He has returned and has been shaky, putting up an 81 ERA- over 15.2 innings.

The prospects in the deal, according to Joel Sherman, are “Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers and AAA reliever Cody Carroll.” Tate is really funny for Orioles TINSTAAP purposes. Originally the fourth selection in the 2015 draft by the Rangers, he was so talented that many thought he would go at number one.

Then... being a pitcher happened. His velocity took a dive, he has suffered from shoulder injuries over the past two years, and the Yankees got him for a bargain in 2016 in the Carlos Beltran deal. He’s the classic high-ceiling, injured pitching prospect, but you can’t argue that’s a bad starting point for a rental reliever.

The left-hander Rogers may be the more interesting of the two top guys. He was drafted in the 11th round out of Louisville, and he has always been a deep-cut sleeper prospect in the Yankees’ system, and he has put up a 3.95 ERA at Triple-A. Carroll is organizational depth as a reliever at Triple-A, but also really interesting that he’s had a sub-3.00 ERA in the last three levels he’s been on, and he has a collective 2.67 ERA in the minors.

Overall, a nice haul for the rebuilding Orioles. They got Yusniel Diaz and company for a half-season of Manny Machado, and now they have Dillon Tate and company for a half-season of Britton. One could quibble with their choice to get returns for these players so late, but based on where we are today, this was a successful day for the franchise as they try to pivot from one nadir to future magic.