Zach Britton returns to Yankees on 3-year contract

The Yankees formally addressed their bullpen after the departure of David Robertson by re-upping on a three-year deal with lefty Zach Britton.

Britton’s deal is slightly unorthodox, though not as weird as the one that Yusei Kikuchi and the Mariners agreed to earlier this week.

The base deal of the contract is more-or-less three years for $39 million, according to Ken Rosenthal. Jeff Passan is reporting that there is a fourth-year team option and an opt-out that Britton can exercise after the second year of the deal. The part where it gets particularly odd is that the Yankees have to decide on what happens with that after year two.

To reiterate, one of the following things must happen after the 2020 season, and it has to be decided in this order:

  1. The Yankees exercise their fourth-year option for the 2022 season
  2. Britton decides to opt in for the 2021 season
  3. Britton becomes a free agent following the 2020 season

If the contract goes to its full terms, the full contract would reportedly be four years and $53 million, and if he opts out after two years then Britton will have earned $26 million, according to Mark Feinsand.

Britton is a ground ball machine and left-handed, two things that partner well with Yankee Stadium. He was very good during his stint with the Yankees, especially once he became fully acclimated after those first few weeks.

Right now the Yankees bullpen is guaranteed to have the following guys in it:

  1. Aroldis Chapman
  2. Britton
  3. Dellin Betances
  4. Chad Green
  5. Jonathan Holder

The Yankees seem to remain connected to Adam Ottavino, who becomes the best non-Craig Kimbrel reliever on the free agent market with Britton now off of it. The Yankees very well could fill in internally with options like Tommy Kahnle, Stephen Tarpley, Domingo German, Chance Adams, Jonathan Loaisiga, *gulp* Luis Cessa, and others remaining in-house.

I’d personally sign Ottavino, but now that Britton is back in the fold I’d be willing to see what they have in the fold and trade for someone mid-season if need be. It seems like every team that is trying to win will acquire a reliever mid-season anyway, these days.

 

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