NEW YORK -- The Yankees agreed to a deal with Zach Britton on Saturday that will keep the left-handed reliever in pinstripes for at least the next two seasons, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.Britton's new pact with the Bombers is a three-year deal that will average $13 million
NEW YORK -- The Yankees agreed to a deal with Zach Britton on Saturday that will keep the left-handed reliever in pinstripes for at least the next two seasons, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Britton's new pact with the Bombers is a three-year deal that will average $13 million each season, with an opt-out clause after 2020 if the team does not exercise its option for the 2022 campaign. If Britton departs after two years, he would have earned $26 million; completing the full four years would net him $53 million. The signing has not been announced by the team.
By retaining the 31-year-old hurler, the Yankees aim to maintain the strength of what was one of the better bullpens in the Majors last season, despite the loss of right-hander Player Page for David Robertson to the Phillies. New York's 3.38 bullpen ERA ranked fourth behind the Astros (3.03), Cubs (3.35) and Athletics (3.37).
Britton projects to slide behind closer Albertin Chapman, joining a stacked setup mix that also will feature Dellin Betances, Chad Green and Jonathan Holder.
One of the teams reportedly in the running for Britton, according to The Athletic's Dan Connolly, was the Angels, who fell short in their bid to add the left-hander. The Angels don't have a set closer, but general manager Billy Eppler said there are three or four relievers on the roster who could be candidates to finish tight games.
While the Yankees wait on developments with superstar free agent Manny Machado, general manager Brian Cashman has turned his attention to the relief market. Right-hander Adam Ottavino has also generated interest, and it remains possible that they could add both Britton and Ottavino.
• How does Britton's deal impact other FA relievers?
"I'm staying engaged with who the available players on the marketplace happen to be through trade or free agency, and some fit more than others," Cashman said on a Friday conference call announcing the signing of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
In 41 combined appearances for the Orioles and Yankees, Britton was 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA and seven saves in 10 chances, permitting 14 earned runs in 40 2/3 innings with 34 strikeouts. Opponents batted .201 (29-for-144) against the hurler, who did not pitch until June 12 while recovering from surgery on his right Achilles tendon.
The Yankees acquired Britton from Baltimore on July 24, swapping out right-handers Dillon Tate and Cody Carroll and left-hander Josh Rogers. In 25 appearances for New York, Britton was 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA, permitting 10 earned runs in 25 innings with 21 strikeouts.
Since the beginning of the 2014 season, Britton leads all Major League pitchers (min. 200 innings pitched) with a 1.82 ERA. He was selected as the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year in 2016 after converting all 47 of his save opportunities for Baltimore.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.