The New York Yankees must upgrade their pitching staff. While most expect the Yanks to pursue a starter, Zach Britton is an alternative.
Starting pitching is the most glaring need for Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees. The market for a starter isn’t great. But Cashman can get creative in his attempts to bolster the rotation by trading for Baltimore’s Zach Britton.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Yankees are among four teams heavily pursuing the reliever. The Red Sox and Cubs are interested in Britton, but Crasnick reports that the Yankees and Astros have “sweetened their offers in the last day or two.”
Of course, this wouldn’t be a direct improvement to the rotation, but a deeper bullpen would mitigate the risk of a weak rotation in the playoffs. The Yankees already have the deepest bullpen in baseball. Adding Britton to a pen including Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Jonathan Holder, and Chad Green would make the bullpen nearly unhittable.
Additionally, a rejuvenated Tommy Kahnle will don the pinstripes again sooner or later. The team even has options to bring up young guns to fortify the rotation or the bullpen in Domingo Acevedo or Justus Sheffield.
Furthermore, acquiring Britton blocks the Red Sox or the Astros from acquiring a need. Boston and Houston are the biggest threats to New York’s World Series aspirations. Blocking two rivals from improving could be enough to convince Cashman to pull the trigger.
A Yankee trade for a reliever may seem counterintuitive on its face. But this move would fortify the bullpen even further while simultaneously sabotaging their two biggest rivals.