A person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press the Yankees are close to agreement on a trade to acquire left-hander Zach Britton from the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles for three prospects, a deal that would bolster New York‘s bullpen for the stretch run.
The trade would send right-hander Dillon Tate to the Orioles along with left-hander Josh Rogers and right-hander Cody Carroll, the person said Tuesday night, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal would be subject to the teams approving medical records.
The 30-year-old Britton would serve as a setup man for closer Aroldis Chapman, joining David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chasen Shreve, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Adam Warren in an already strong bullpen.
“I think he’s one of the best relievers in the game,” Chapman said through a translator. “Having the opportunity to add somebody like that with so much talent would be very helpful.”
Britton is eligible to become a free agent after this season, a timely summer rental for the Yankees in their pursuit of first-place Boston in the AL East.
He began the season on the disabled list after tearing his right Achilles tendon in December. He made his debut on June 12 and has appeared in 16 games, going 1-0 with a 3.45 ERA and four saves. He has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances, allowing just three hits over eight innings.
In 2016, Britton was exceptional. He was 2-1 with a 0.54 ERA and 47 saves in 47 chances. He converted an AL-record 60 consecutive save opportunities from Oct. 1, 2015, to last Aug. 21. Over his eight-year career, all with the Orioles, Britton is 30-22 with a 3.22 ERA and 139 saves.
The Yankees would be responsible for about $4.35 million of his $12 million salary this year. New York began the season with a $179 million payroll for purposes of luxury tax, which left the team room to add salaries and remain under $197 million threshold.
Britton would become the third closer traded this month, following deals that sent Brad Hand from San Diego to Cleveland and Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets to Oakland. He gives the Yankees insurance should Chapman be further slowed by the tendinitis in his left knee that has bothered him this season.
“When you bring in somebody like him, it gives you the opportunity to rotate and divide the workload,” Chapman said.
Baltimore is in full-scale sell mode as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. The last-place Orioles traded All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week and are seeking buyers for center fielder Adam Jones and reliever Brad Brach, both eligible for free agency after the World Series.
Tate, 24, was selected by Texas with the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft and was traded to the Yankees the following year in the deal that brought Carlos Beltran to the Rangers. Tate is 5-2 with a 3.37 ERA in 15 starts this season for Double-A Trenton of the Eastern League, striking out 75 and walking 25 in 82 2/3 innings.
Rogers, also 24, is 6-8 with a 3.95 ERA this year for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He was an 11th-round selection three years ago.
Carroll, 25, is 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 32 appearances for the RailRiders, striking out 55 and walking 18 in 41 2/3 innings. Carroll was a 25th-round pick in 2015.
Blum reported from New York. Mark Didtler contributed from St. Petersburg, Florida.
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