The Yankees re-signed the top sinkerball pitcher in baseball, Zach Briton, to a $39 million deal that could max out at upwards of $54 million for four years.
In his six-year career with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, the left-handed Britton has a 31-22 record with a 3.21 ERA and 142 saves.
The overall deal with the Yankees is worth $39 million, or $13 million a season over three years. The contract includes a two-year club option and a one-year player option. In 2020, the Yankees could initiate the fourth year, which is worth an additional $14 million. If not, Britton can opt out and leave after only two seasons.
Back to the Bronx
In 25 appearances with the Yankees last season, Britton pitched 25 innings and went 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA. He finished the 2018 season with seven saves, 34 strikeouts, and a 3.10 ERA in 41 total appearances.
Last week, the Yankees lost free agent reliever David Robertson, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for a two-year deal worth $21 million.
The addition of Britton fills an open slot in a excellent bullpen that also includes closer Aroldis Chapman, set-up man Dellin Bettances, and Chad Green.
The Baby Bombers set a new MLB record with most home runs in a season, but it’s their bullpen that gets top grades across the board.
Britton, 31, missed the half of the 2018 season recovering from a blown Achilles. The Yankees acquired him from the Baltimore Orioles before the trade deadline for three minor league prospects. The former closer dominated hitters from 2014 to 2016 when he saved 120 games with the Orioles. In 2016, he saved 47 games during an untouchable season in which he boasted a 0.54 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.
However, the Yankees do not need him to be the closer, but rather as a guy who get the Yankees out of a jam in the sixth or seventh inning. Manager Aaron Boone would love to bring in the best sinkerball pitcher in the game to induce a big-time ground ball double play to kill a potential rally.
GM Brian Cashman has been wheeling and dealing since the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Red Sox. Cashman signed veteran CC Sabathia to a one-year deal and even paid him a $500,000 bonus. The Yankees also signed veteran starter JA Happ to a two-year contract worth $17 million.
The Yankees acquired lefty flamethrower James Paxton in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. The Yanks were forced to part ways with their top pitching prospect, Justus Sheffield, but Paxton is a bona fide Ace behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka.
At the start of the new year, Cashman signed veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki as a temporary replacement for Didi Gregorious, who will miss the 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Even with the addition of Tulowitzki, the Yankees are still one of the many teams pursuing all-star short stop Manny Machado, but they are not in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Yankees are 13-2 odds to win the 2019 World Series.