The Yankees traded their #9 (Dillon Tate RHP) and #15 (Cody Carrol RH Reliver) prospects as well as LHP prospect Josh Rodgers in exchange for now former Orioles Closer Zach Britton. The Yankees already have the best bullpen in baseball with a 2.76 ERA. The question is, why trade for another reliver when there starters are only 13th in the league with a 4.02 ERA and lack depth?
Answer: The game has changed and the market for starters is terrible.
The Yankees are gearing up for a playoff run, and that requires a strong bullpen. Gone are the days of number two and three starters pitching deep into postseason games. In today’s game the objective of a postseason starter is to keep their team in the game for four or five innings before handing it over to the bullpen. Closers are used to get out of jams in the 6th or 7th, and aces are coming out of the bullpen to get saves. There is no such thing as a standard bullpen usage in the playoffs or set roles, unlike in the regular season where their is a 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guy. With the lack of quality starting pitching on the Yankees staff, they will be calling to the bullpen as early as possible. With the extra rest and bullpen depth, the Evil Empire will just have to get their starters not named Severino to the 4th or 5th before employing the arms of Aroldis Chapman (2.03 ERA), Adam Warren (2.39 ERA), Dillon Betances (2.49 ERA), Chad Green (2.63 ERA), David Robertson (3.05 ERA), Luis Cessa (3.10 ERA) and now Zach Britton (3.45 ERA) in whichever order they please.
The other reason is that the current market for starters is so bad that they had to get creative to figure out how to improve their pitching staff. The best guys available are aging veterans who are having solid seasons, nobody is doing anything special. The Yankees still may be in the market for a quality arm like J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.18 ERA) but he isn’t scaring anyone, even if it does make the team better.
While on the surface the move seems a little strange, give props where it is due. Yankees GM Brian Cashman made a great move to acquire yet another lethal bullpen arm, even if he did overspend a little. The Orioles did a phenomenal job as well considering Britton was not expected to bring in a haul that included two top fifteen prospects in an above average farm system. This is a move that I love to see as a baseball fan, and hate as a Red Sox fan… your move Dombrowski. (Eovaldi doesn’t count)
Scott Neville – Head Baseball Writer – WTF Sports