Yankees GM Brian Cashman praised New York's bullpen following the acquisition of Orioles reliever Zach Britton, saying it adds more depth to their already strong bullpen.
Even without Britton, the New York Post's Joel Sherman notes, the Yankees have five of the top 30 relievers in baseball in WAR (Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Jonathan Holder and Chad Green), and Britton, a two-time All-Star, makes them even stronger.
"If somebody, god forbid, ever got hurt, we have another legitimate, quality option in choice that can reinforce us," Cashman said on Wednesday, according to Newsday's Erik Boland. "It hopefully covers us a lot of different ways."
Britton, 30, has a 3.45 ERA in 16 relief appearances this season, but has been one of the most dominant relievers over the past five years. Between 2014 and 2017, Britton had a 1.61 ERA, 135 saves and 244 strikeouts in 246 1/3 innings, including a 0.54 ERA and a league-leading 47 saves in 2016.
"How close he is to the All-Star guy [he was], I don't know," Cashman said. "Our hope is we'll be able to see something like that on a consistent basis. He obviously had a major injury he came back from and he's missed a lot of time in knocking the rust off and closing the gap on where he was and what he's capable of. Hopefully the best is yet to come."
Manager Aaron Boone said Chapman, who has a 2.03 ERA, 26 saves and 68 strikeouts in 40 innings this season, will still be the team's closer, although he added Britton could fill several different roles in the backend of New York's bullpen, whose 2.75 ERA leads the majors.
Come playoff time, a strong bullpen can shorten a game. Should the Yankees make it to the ALDS, they would likely only carry three or four starting pitchers, allowing them to get to their strong bullpen sooner.
All that's left for the Yankees, ahead of Tuesday's trade deadline, is to find another starting pitcher.