Yankees Acquire Zach Britton from Orioles for Three Pitching Prospects

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In a rare trade between division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees have agreed to a blockbuster trade. Baltimore has sent closer Zach Britton to the Yankees in exchange for prospects Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll, according to multiple reports.

This move may not be the final one made by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman ahead of the July 31 deadline, but may end up being the most important for the pennant race. Not only did the Yankees acquire a much needed left-handed reliever, one that should provide insurance to Aroldis Chapman‘s achy knee, but they also prevented the Houston Astros from strengthening their squad.

Britton immediately becomes the best left-handed set-up option out of the Yankees’s bullpen, providing a serious upgrade over the inconsistent Chasen Shreve. Prior to the deal, the Yanks already had arguably the strongest bullpen in the league with David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, A.J. Cole, and Adam Warren all slotting behind Chapman. What this move gives the Yankees is certainty and peace of mind.

When you are in the playoffs, you don’t want to have to send out any taxi squaders or mop-up men. Everyone on the playoff roster should, in a perfect world, be able to contribute without much, if any, doubt. The Yankees now have just that in their bullpen.

Baseball Essential columnist and prospect expert Joe Orsatti wrote the following about the return headed to Baltimore:

As for the return, Orioles fans should be very pleased. The 24-year old righty Dillon Tate is a known commodity who the Yankees acquired in the Carlos Beltran deal with the Texas Rangers in 2016. A former first-round pick, he has reached Double-A this season and holds a strong 3.38 ERA over 82.2 innings. While there have been some injury concerns, he combines a mid-90’s fastball with two plus secondaries (a slider and a change), and has a decent chance of remaining in the rotation.

The @Orioles and @Yankees both addressed their immediate needs with the Zach Britton trade.Click To Tweet

I would put his ceiling at a two/plus three, with the most likely outcome as a mid-rotation Vince Velazquez type arm who can be lights out, but doesn’t go very late into games. If he moves to the bullpen, his stuff would definitely play up which could make him an elite relief arm. There’s a lot to like about this kid.

In Carroll, the O’s get a high floor, high upside reliever who is major league ready with a fastball that tops out at 99, a plus slider, a plus splitter and an easy delivery. While the control could pose some problems in the future, it hasn’t caused him many issues thus far, as he currently sports a strong 2.38 ERA over 41.2 innings in Triple-A Scranton with nine saves, an 11.9 K/9, a 3.9 BB/9 and no home runs allowed.

The funny thing about the home run statistic is that he isn’t a groundball pitcher either (32.6% in 2018), he induces a lot of infield pops, and fly balls, but has done a very nice job of keeping them in the yard. While I don’t like to play the ceiling/floor game with relievers, I would certainly be willing to wager that Carroll is pitching in a set-up capacity for the O’s within the next calendar year.

Finally, the 24-year old Rogers is a finesse lefty starter who typically sits in the low 90’s, but brings with him well above average control with a pair of solid secondaries (change-up and curve). He has thrown the ball reasonably well thus far in Triple-A, posting a 3.95 ERA over 101.1 innings pitched.

I would place his ceiling as a fourth starter, and believe that he should see regular starts with the O’s during the rebuild. While he may eventually transition into a multi-inning lefty relief role as the Orioles improve, he should have a major league impact. His floor is that of a lefty swing man.

This is another great move by the Orioles. Once again, they secured a group of prospects who all have the chance to be very solid major leaguers, while saving money. I especially like the inclusion of Tate, who has more upside than most pitchers in the minor leagues, while Rogers and Carroll make for excellent secondary pieces.

While I do believe the Yankees gave up too much for an expensive rental reliever coming off of a ruptured Achilles, they have prospects to spare, and a wide open window. This trade gives them certainty for the playoffs that they can feel confident in every player that seems likely to be a part of that playoff roster.

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