Re-signing Zach Britton will definitely improve the Yankees bullpen in 2019, but it will also help New York hang on to Aroldis Chapman after next season.
Manny Machado isn’t the only free agent the Yankees are working hard to sign at the moment. Zach Britton still has a lot of fans in New York’s front office and the team is squarely in the frame to keep the talented southpaw.
Bringing Britton back into the fold would make the Yankees bullpen deeper in 2019 and can also help keep Aroldis Chapman around for years to come.
Chapman has a big decision to make after the 2019 campaign comes to a close. He can opt out of the last two years of his contract next winter.
That would require the Cuban missile to give up $30 million dollars of guaranteed money, but it’s very possible he could recoup that via free agency. If he pitches well next season, the Yankees will certainly want Chapman to keep playing on his current contract.
If he opts out, they may be forced to overcommit to the electric lefty in terms of both years and dollars in a new deal.
The best way the Yankees can guard against overpaying Chapman is to make sure they have another option to close games before he’s in a position to leave. That’s one of several reasons why re-signing Britton is a good idea for Brian Cashman and company.
His presence in the Yankees bullpen would allow the front office to tell Chapman’s representatives that they are prepared to go with an in-house closer rather than overpaying their client.
They may not actually intend to go with Britton as their full-time closer, but he clearly has the talent to hold down the role. He was one of the most dominant relievers in the game when he was finishing games for the Orioles.
Injuries have taken a little bit of the shine off Britton’s star in recent years, but he was still good in the Bronx last year. His ERA for the Yankees last season was just 2.88 in 25 outings after coming over ahead of the trade deadline.
All of those reasons explain why if Machado is option one for the Yankees in free agency, Britton should be running a close second. His ability to bolster Aaron Boone’s bullpen this season is obvious, but his ability to save the Yankees millions next summer is pretty important too.
Bringing Britton back just makes too much sense for the Yankees to ignore.