After losing one of their best relievers to free agency last week in David Robertson, the New York Yankees made a move to shore up their bullpen.
The Yankees have agreed to terms with reliever Zach Britton on a three-year, $39 million contract, sources told ESPN.
The deal includes a fourth-year option worth $14 million for 2022, which the Yankees can exercise after the 2020 season, ESPN reported. If the Yankees decline to pick up that option, Britton can opt out after two years.
Britton, 31, was traded to the Yankees in July from the rebuilding Orioles, who received three prospects in return. During his time in New York, Britton went 1-0 with a 2.88 earned run average in 25 innings.
Including his time with Baltimore, Britton made 40 appearances in 2018. He pitched 40-and-two-thirds innings, collecting seven saves and posting a 3.10 ERA. He missed the first two months of the season with an Achilles injury.
Britton is considered one of the best relievers in baseball. In 2016, The left-hander led the majors with 47 saves and posted a minuscule 0.54 ERA.
He tallied 37 and 36 saves in 2014 and 2015, respectively, with an ERA under 2.00 both of those years.
From October 2015 to August 2017, he converted an American League-record 60 consecutive save opportunities, according to ESPN.
The Yankees, who went 100-62 in 2018 only to lose in the American League Division Series to the Red Sox, had the fourth-lowest bullpen ERA in all of baseball last season.
Locking up Britton somewhat alleviates the sting of losing Robertson, who signed a two-year deal with the Phillies last week.
Robertson, 33, has been an effective set-up man and closer throughout most of his career. He has a lifetime record of 53-32 with a 2.88 ERA and 137 saves.
While Robertson was an important part of the Yankees success, Britton should have a major impact as well. He’ll be part of a stellar bullpen that already includes Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Chad Green.
The Yankees may not be done. According to ESPN, they’re also pursuing free agent reliever Adam Ottavino.
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