In the midst of the Yanks current “slide” where they’ve essentially played .500 baseball over the last month, it’s been glaringly obvious the Yanks needed to add an arm. The most obvious holes are in the starting rotation with everyone besides Severino and Sabathia pitching atrociously. But there didn’t seem to be any real difference makers available on the maket, so Cashman opted for the next best thing, to make their strength (the bullpen) even more of a juggernaut.
Yankees Bullpen Pre-Trade
As we can see Boone is already working with the best bullpen in the game, and the rich are only going to get richer. Rather than go out and pay a high price for a reportedly “very expensive” J.A. Happ the Yanks instead paid an admittedly high price for a rental of Zach Britton.
What impact does Britton have?
This question really depends on which Britton the Yanks get. If he’s the same guy who many considered the best closer in baseball in 2016, he’s going to be a major difference maker in that bullpen – especially considering the lingering knee issues Chapman is dealing with, and the propensity of the starting rotation to not pitch deep into games. While it might be a long shot to assume Britton returns to that form, there is reason to be optimistic as he has thrown scoreless outings in each of his last 8 appearances and 10 of his last 11 outings. Over that 11 outing stretch, he has a 1.64 ERA, and hitters are slashing .147/.275/.265. One thing to note, since returning from his Achilles injury he has had an inflated walk rate (15.9%) compared to his career average (9.1%). Perhaps most importantly though, Britton will step right in and take a job away from the abomination that is Chasen Shreve. To get an idea of how much of an upgrade a healthy Britton can be over Shreve, I took a look at how the Yankees pen would have produced this year if you subtract Shreve’s 36 innings, and substitute an average 36 innings from Britton at his 2014-2016 clips and the numbers are ridiculous.
The ERA drops to a miniscule 2.44, with peripherals to back it up. In that same period, the second lowest ERA belongs to the Astros, more than half a run higher at 2.96.
The Yankees did give up Dillon Tate (#9 prospect in system) along with RHP Cody Carroll (#15 prospect) and LHP Josh Rogers which is a steep price to pay for a rental reliever coming off of a major injury. Tate was performing well AA Trenton this season with a 2.81ERA in 13 starts and appeared to have somewhat regained the form that made him a former 1st round pick in 2015. Something interesting to note, it was reported that the Yankees were unwilling to give up any top 10 prospects in a potential Machado deal, but chose to trade their #9 and #15 for Britton.