The Orioles traded Zach Britton, the longest-tenured player in the organization, to the New York Yankees on Tuesday in return for right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate and a pair of Triple-A hurlers, Josh Rogers and Cody Carroll.
Here’s what sports writers around the nation are saying about the homegrown pitcher’s departure:
Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards seemed concerned the Yankees picked up a reliever when they really needed a starter, but conceded that any pitching help is ultimately needed.
“The Yankees don’t necessarily need Britton — and they probably have greater use for a [starter] — but if the club’s starters aren’t going to be reliable, making their already super-bullpen more super is one way to improve the team in a potentially tight division race. It could also prove very useful in the playoffs.”
Keith Law of ESPN praised the Orioles for getting a good haul despite Britton’s recent medical history.
“Britton's stuff has mostly returned now that he has 15 major league innings under his belt this season, although his command isn't close to back yet, so his market value wasn't going to be great, and in that context the O's did well to acquire some pitching depth in the form of three second- or third-tier prospects from a very deep Yankees system.”
As did Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, surprised by the Orioles’ finesse in the market.
“I don’t know who is making these deals — Dan Duquette, Brady Anderson, the sons of Peter Angelos, the ghost of Harry Dalton — but the Baltimore Orioles certainly seem to be operating with a clue. With their trade of Zach Britton to the New York Yankees, the Orioles have acquired three top-15 prospects from two of the game’s deepest farm systems in a week’s time. Their bounty for a pair of rentals, Britton and Manny Machado, also includes four other minor leaguers and a player with major league experience, infielder Breyvic Valera.”
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman writes that the Yankees’ acquisition of Britton wasn’t just about strengthening the bullpen, but chess.
“The Yankees kept Britton away from the Astros and Red Sox, teams, along with the Cubs, who were believed to be among the strongest pursuers. First quest: Help yourself. Second: Hurt your foes if possible.”
Britton will be used as mid game cleanup, rather than closing, writes SI.com’s Jon Tayler, but for an unstable New York starting rotation, that’s just what they need.
“Britton’s addition should serve to shorten games even more for the Yankees, thus relieving the pressure on a rotation that, aside from Cy Young contender Luis Severino, is shaky. CC Sabathia has been spectacular at age 38, but he shouldn’t be regularly asked to go through an order a third time. Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray, meanwhile, are Magic 8 Balls: likely to give you a different result, good or bad, every time out. And the fifth starter spot, recently vacated by rookie Domingo German, remains a question mark. With Britton adding an inning or two to the calculus as needed, though, manager Aaron Boone won’t have to push his starters as much, or can more freely turn to his bullpen if anyone falters early.”
Columnist Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports believes Britton, as well as Manny Machado, are only the appetizers to the Orioles’ trading entree.
“The Red Sox also were believed to have discussed Britton with the moribund Orioles, as had the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, among others. With Manny Machado and Britton moved for a total of eight prospects, the Orioles are likely to shop several other players, including outfielder Adam Jones, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, and relievers Brad Brach and Mychal Givens.”