Brian Cashman certainly wants to add a starting pitcher ahead of the trade deadline, but the Yankees are also eyeing bullpen help.
The Yankees have made it very clear they want to make a move for a starting pitcher this month if the price is right. Unfortunately, the asking price for quality starters continues to be outside Brian Cashman’s price range. That’s why Cashman and the rest of the New York front office are also evaluating potential bullpen upgrades.
One of the club’s targets is Orioles’ closer Zach Britton. He missed most of the season recovering from a torn Achilles, but he’s looked healthy for the team as of late. Ignore his current ERA of 5.59, he’s looked much better for Buck Showalter’s team over his last few outings.
Don’t expect the Orioles to ask for a lot in return for Britton. His recent health issues, combined with the fact that he’ll be a free agent this summer will suppress their asking price. One decent prospect should be enough to acquire him for the Yankees, or one of his other suitors.
Swinging a deal for Britton would provide Aaron Boone insurance against Aroldis Chapman missing serious time. The talented closer has battled knee tendonitis all season long, but has managed to pitch through the pain so far. Adding Britton to the bullpen mix would give the Yankees another left-handed option late in games.
Ideally, Chapman would stay healthy and Britton could take over Chasen Shreve as the Yankees’ primary left-handed setup man. Shreve has really struggled for New York as of late, and his 4.80 ERA is among the worst on the Yankees staff. Shifting him to a lesser role would be a big boost for Boone.
The real question is whether or not the Orioles would prefer to ship Britton outside the division. The fact that multiple teams are interested in him means they’ll certainly have that opportunity. In the end, expect Baltimore’s front office to take the best prospect, or package of prospects, they can get in exchange for Britton. If that comes from Brian Cashman, then Britton will be a Yankee this month.