As anticipated, the Orioles have traded away 30 year old closer Zach Britton. New York reportedly beat out offers from Boston, Houston, and Milwuakee to land the lefty. In exchange, Baltimore is receiving Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll.
It wasn’t too long ago that Britton was regarded as the best closer in baseball. From 2014-16, Britton owned the 2nd best reliever ERA at 1.38 in more than 200 innings, compiling the 4th most saves (120) with the fewest losses (4). In the past 2 seasons, amidst many injuries, Britton has come well back to earth with a 3.06 ERA in 54 games, but still taking just 1 loss.
Britton’s main issue has been his control, more specifically his complete absence of it. From 2014-16, Britton owned a respectable 2.4 BB/9 while keeping his called strike % anywhere between 55 – 64%. Over the last 2 years, Britton’s BB/9 has doubled to 4.8, while his current called strike rate sits at just 44.4%.
Even if Britton’s numbers decline rather than improve, and the trade works out to be a bust for the Yankees, New York undoubtedly has the depth to cover his tracks.
Their 2.75 ERA and 3.01 FIP rank 1st and 2nd best respectively, while striking out the most batters. More specifically, since May 27th, the Yankees bullpen brags a 1.89 ERA, the best in baseball by a wide margin. Only 1 of the 8 most used relievers has an ERA above 3.05, however Chapman is the only lefty in that elite group. Britton adds a new and hopefully skilled southpaw to help balance the Yankees stacked bullpen.
Talk about a powerful pen: Chapman. Britton. Betances. Green. Robertson. Holder. Warren.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) July 25, 2018
For Baltimore, their farm system continues to grow exponentially. Dillon Tate falls in at #4 in the Orioles system, and Cody Carroll hits 15. Tate was the number 4 overall pick in the 2015 draft, and was part of the package sent from Texas for Carlos Beltran back in the summer of 2016. The right handed starter has struggled to stay healthy, dealing with hamstring, shoulder, and quad injuries all in the last couple of years, but when healthy has posted strong numbers and looks to be a future major leaguer.
Carroll has done nothing but excel in the minors, owning a career 2.67 ERA and 0.3 HR/9 out of the bullpen. At age 25, the hundred-mph throwing righty could very well join the Orioles at some point this season. Closing off the trade is 23 year old Josh Rogers, who isn’t ranked in the Orioles top 30, but has shown some promise with good control and strikeout abilities.
Here’s what one trusted scout thinks of Dillon Tate, the headliner in the NYY-BAL Britton trade: “He’s a future No. 4 with potentially more impact in the pen. Big fastball, plus slider, makings of a useable changeup.” Scout likes the deal for the Orioles.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 25, 2018
It’s impossible to say New York lost the trade, as they’ve made their bullpen seemingly unbeatable. However, other deadline-sellers should take note of how impressive Baltimore has been in dealing their stars, racking up 8 impressive prospects total for Machado and Britton.