The New York Yankees re-signed Zach Britton to a three-year deal worth $39M in guaranteed money. I wrote an article with a list of five relievers I thought the Phillies should think about signing a couple months ago, and Britton was on that list. If you want to see the rest of the list, you can here. In my original article, I would’ve given Britton a three-year deal worth about $24M. I thought this would have been enough to sign him, but I guess not.
Why did the Phillies need Britton?
This is a simple question with a simple answer. He is an established lefty out of the bullpen. Britton was the closer in Baltimore and was dominate, and then became a late-inning guy for the Yankees after the trade. When the off-season started, I felt that the Phillies needed to add another lefty in the bullpen. Before you say anything, yes they made a trade for José Álvarez, but Britton was at the top of my list.
Besides Álvarez, the Phillies have Austin Davis and Adam Morgan currently on the 40-man roster. However, it is unclear if Morgan will be on the roster come spring training. I don’t think many people would argue the fact that the Phillies need a high-caliber lefty. With the way that Gabe Kapler uses the pitching staff, the more options he has the better.
Was he worth $39 Million?
Honestly, I’m torn here. I think Britton was the best left-handed option for the Phillies to sign this off-season. And I believe he would’ve continued to help push this team to a real playoff contender. However, I don’t want to give him $39M, possibly more. With the way that the owners and front office staff has commented on both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, $39M might be a back-breaker for signing one of these big name guys.
However, the question becomes, does signing Britton make Philadelphia more desirable for one of these bigger name guys? I think the answer is yes. Baseball is changing and the way the bullpen is being used is changing. The addition of Britton would have seriously helped the ability to shorten games. There was no better feeling than in 2008 when Brad Lidge would come into the game, everyone knew the game was over.
If I had to answer the question, I don’t think Britton is worth $39M. Especially after the signing of David Robertson. If and I mean IF the Phillies are able to sign Harper or Machado, the lack of Britton will be forgotten.
How is it a mistake?
As I said earlier, I think the Phillies needed to add a lefty to the bullpen. Álvarez has been added via a trade, but Britton was on the top of many lists. The way that Kapler used the bullpen last season, and the way that we all expect him to use it this season, means that there isn’t a true closer. Adding Robertson and Britton would have created a three-headed monster with Seranthony Domínguez. All three have “closing,” experience and would’ve created a bullpen that could’ve been as feared as the Yankees or Athletics of last season.
What is the next step for the Phillies?
Again, this is a simple question. Obviously, I think everyone wants to see them sign either Harper or Machado (maybe both??). I expect Harper to wait until after Machado signs. Simply because I think he wants to sign the larger contract. Machado seems to favor the Yankees over everyone else, but who really knows?
Realistically, I would like to see the Phillies make a push for Adam Ottavino. Ottavino was the number one reliever on my list, and I think he could create that three-headed monster with Robertson and Domínguez. I don’t expect the Phillies to make any more moves to improve their position players (obviously aside from Harper or Machado). The only other player that I would love to see the Phillies go after would be Dallas Keuchel. But I will discuss that further in my next article (baring any breaking news).