The New York Yankees have the best bullpen in the game. Aroldis Chapman is great. David Robertson is having a typical year for David Robertson. Dellin Betances seems to have recovered his form and is, once again, pitching like a relief ace. Chad Green and Jonathan Holder — even A.J. Cole and Adam Warren — have pitched well.
The Yankees don’t need bullpen help. Yet, if rumors are true, they are about to get it anyway. Jon Heyman reports tonight that New York and Baltimore are close to finalizing a trade that would send Zach Britton to the Bronx.
As for whom the Orioles will receive, Ken Rosenthal reports that right-handed pitching prospect Dillon Tate is expected to headline the deal. Sources tell both Joel Sherman and Heyman that the deal will look like this:
The Yankees acquired Tate back in 2016 when they traded Carlos Beltran to the Rangers. Before the season started, he was rated by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel as the club’s ninth-best prospect. He’s made 15 Double-A starts this season, striking out 22% of batters while issuing walks 7% of the time and producing a solid 3.76 FIP and 3.38 ERA. Rogers is a 24-year-old lefty with a 4.23 FIP and 3.95 ERA in 109.1 Triple-A innings this season. Carroll was ranked 18th on the Yankees’ prospect list heading into the season and has struck out 32% of the batters he’s faced as a reliever in Triple-A this year.
Britton’s health has not done his trade value any favors over the past few years. After consecutive two-win seasons in 2015 and 2016, he has missed time with the following injuries:
- April 16, 2017 – Hits the disabled list with a strained left forearm and misses a little over two weeks.
- May 6, 2017 – Almost immediately after return from disabled list, goes back on it with same injury.
- August 25, 2017 – Injures his left knee and is shut down in September.
- December 2017 – Hurts his right Achilles in an offseason workout requiring surgery.
The lefty returned to action on June 12 but hasn’t been lights out like he was before 2017, with a 4.43 FIP and 3.45 ERA thus far. He’s been a bit better of late, tossing eight straight scoreless outings, but has still produced just six strikeouts against four walks in that span. Perhaps more encouragingly, his velocity is up over his last few outings, getting closer to the 97 mph sinker he used to throw. If the velocity return is here to stay, better results might follow.
The Orioles are currently in the midst of a lost season. After moving Manny Machado, Britton was next on the list in the organization’s attempt to get younger. The Yankees don’t necessarily need Britton — and they probably have greater use for a more — but if the club’s starters aren’t going to be reliable, making their already super-bullpen more super is one way to improve the team in a potentially tight division race. It could also prove very useful in the playoffs.
We will have more on the trade later.
Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.