The Yankees have signed LHP Zach Britton to a three-year contract extending through the 2021 season with a team option for 2022, which the club must exercise or decline following the 2020 season. If the Yankees decline the 2022 team option following 2020, Britton may elect to become a free agent for the 2021 season.
This means the Yankees’ back three in the bullpen will be Britton, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman, and all have experience closing games and can be used in optimal situations. The only difference this upcoming season is that Chad Green is next in line after this trio since David Robertson signed with Philadelphia.
Britton, 31, went 1-0 with three saves and a 2.88 ERA (25.0IP, 8ER) in 25 relief appearances with the Yankees in 2018 after being acquired by the club from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Cody Carroll and LHP Josh Rogers on July 24, 2018. In 10 appearances in September, he held opponents to a .088 batting average (3-for-34) without allowing an earned run (9.2IP, 2R).
Overall in 2018, Britton went 2-0 with seven saves and a 3.10 ERA (40.2IP, 14ER) in 41 relief appearances with the Yankees and Orioles. He made his debut on June 12 after missing the first two months of the season on the disabled list recovering from right Achilles surgery.
Over eight Major League seasons with Baltimore (2011-18) and the Yankees, he is 31-22 with 142 saves, a 3.21 ERA (541.2IP, 193ER) and 446K. Since the start of 2014, he leads qualifying relievers with a 1.82 ERA, with Andrew Miller (2.01) the next-closest. During the same five-season span, he also leads all relievers with a 76.8% groundball rate, having held the single-season lead in each of those five seasons (2014-16, ’18). His 8.07 groundball to fly ball ratio leads all Major Leaguer relievers over the stretch.
The two-time AL All-Star (2015-16) recorded at least 36 saves each season from 2014-16. From October 1, 2015 – August 21, 2017, Britton converted 60 consecutive save opportunities, the second-longest streak in Major League history behind Éric Gagné’s streak of 84 straight converted saves from 2002-04. In 2016, he went a perfect 47-for-47 in save opportunities, the third-highest save total without a blown save in Major League history behind only Gagné (55-for-55 in 2003) and José Valverde (49-for-49 in 2011). That season, he led all Major League relievers with a 0.54 ERA (67.0IP, 4ER), the lowest season ERA in Major League history (min. 50.0IP) and tied for second in saves (led the AL) en route to being named the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year.
A native of Panorama City, Calif., he was originally selected by the Orioles in the third round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
To make room for Britton on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated INF Hanser Alberto for assignment.