Yankees Bolster Bullpen With Addition Of Baltimore's Britton
With their trade on Tuesday evening for Orioles closer Zach Britton, the Yankees made an already strong bullpen even stronger. Britton, who missed much of the season recovering from a torn right Achilles tendon, should fit nicely in the mix with power arms like Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green and Dellin Betances, as well as David Robertson and Adam Warren. That group is exclusively righthanded, so Britton’s addition also gives New York a lefthanded option, other than Chasen Shreve, as they look to buttress their roster for a run toward October.
For the Orioles, this move hastens the teardown that began when Manny Machado was dealt to the Dodgers for a quintet of prospects last week. The overhaul should continue for the rest of this month and into the winter with possible moves for starting pitcher Kevin Gausman and outfielder Adam Jones on the horizon.
Once the Machado move was complete, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told local media that his organization would now begin to reinvent itself, complete with a strengthening of the farm system, a move toward finally becoming active in the international market and reinvestment in its facilities.
The trade of Britton to New York, which netted three upper-level arms, is just the second move of what should be many to come.
Zach Britton, RHP
Back from offseason surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon, Britton has returned to the dominant form that made him so desirable at last year’s non-waiver trade deadline as well. He’s back to stymying hitters primarily with a mid-90s sinker that this season has induced grounders at a rate of just over than 64 percent. Keeping the ball on the ground is key everywhere, but it’s paramount at Yankee Stadium, where routine fly balls have a way of creeping into the first few rows of the right-field stands. Britton has allowed just 32 homers in 516.2 major league innings, which is certainly part of the reason New York chose to spend some of its considerable prospect depth on his acquisition.
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Dillon Tate, RHP
The fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Tate was sent to the Yankees in 2016 as one-third of the freight acquired from the Rangers in exchange for DH Carlos Beltran. Since then, Tate showed flashes of the potential Texas saw as an amateur at UC Santa Barbara, but never for an extended period of time. At his best, he operates with a mid- to upper-90s fastball as well a pair of potentially plus offspeed pitches in his slider and changeup. Finding consistency has been an issue, however, as has his command. Tate made strides toward improving the command of his fastball this year, and it showed in a reduced walk rate and an improved strikeout rate in a return to Double-A Trenton. He was activated off of the minor league disabled list on Tuesday after dealing with a strained quad. He has a chance to be a back of the rotation starter but may end up in the bullpen if his command and consistency don't improve.
Cody Carroll, RHP
One of the breakout stars of the Yankees' system in 2017, Carroll carved up hitters with a mid- to upper-90s fastball, as well as a split-fingered fastball and slider. His fastball has touched 100 mph in the past. He was particularly nasty in the Arizona Fall League, where he struck out 18 and allowed just two hits over nine relief innings with Scottsdale. He had whiffed 55 in 41.2 innings with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this year and, like Tate, was working to improve the command of his fastball. His slider projects as an average pitch, and scouts believe he could fill the role of a seventh-inning flamethrower.
Josh Rogers, LHP
Rogers had surgery last season to remove a bone spur in his left elbow, but was fully healthy entering 2018 and began the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was one of the organization’s best performers over the first two months of the season before running into a bit of a wall of late. Rogers, drafted out of Louisville in the 11th round in 2015, utilizes a full four-pitch complement, though no one pitch is overwhelming. His fastball sits in the 87-91 mph range, and he backs it up with a slider and changeup in the low 80s that each touch a tick higher, as well as a curveball in the 77-80 mph range. His slider is his best secondary pitch, though it still needs further consistency and refinement. He could have a future as a big league depth piece out of the bullpen.