Yankees news/rumors: Zack Britton’s option picked up, 4 Yankees nominated for All-MLB team

Alexander Wilson
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers against the Cleveland Indians in the fourth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees got off to an exciting start this week, as four of their starting players have hit the free-agent market. However, it was relief pitcher Zack Britton that saw most of the attention following the end of the World Series.

Britton, who signed a three-year, $39 million deal back in 2019, had a player option after the 2020 season, but since the Yankees have the ability to accept the club option for 2022, they were able to secure control over him for next year.

That means Britton will stay in pinstripes next season at $14 million, which is great value for one of the best bullpen arms in all of baseball. He finished the 2019 campaign with a 1.91 ERA, striking out 53 batters and allowing three homers over 61.1 innings. This past year, he was even more impressive, finishing with a 1.89 ERA, 16 strikeouts, and didn’t give up a single long ball. Retaining him is a big deal for a bullpen that struggled throughout the campaign.

Keeping as many talented players as possible is how the Yankees plan to operate, but their financial flexibility has been slashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With DJ LeMahieu still waiting on a contract extension, I expect things to move rather slowly heading into the hot stove months. LeMahieu will command a ton of attention after the past two seasons, and it’s possible the Bombers miss out on his talents as his price-tag continues to rise.

Four Yankees are nominated for the 2020 All-MLB team:

For their extravagant performances, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, infielder DJ LeMahieu, slugger Luke Voit, and sharp as a tack third baseman Gio Urshela were all nominated for the accolade. Without them, the Yankees would be a completely different team, which is why retaining LeMahieu is such a big deal.

Urshela, who continues to rise above expectations after being traded by the Toronto Blue for cash considerations two years ago, has been remarkable. He finished his 2020 campaign with a .2989 average, including six homers and 30 RBIs. He enjoyed a .858 OPS, 136 OPS+, and a 1.9 WAR. Urshela has three years left of arbitration before the Yankees lose control over him, but that gives the team plenty of time to develop him and watch him grow on the hot corner.

It takes no brain surgeon to figure out how valuable Cole and DJ are to the team, but Luke Voit is another surprising name. Battling through a foot injury this season, Voit hit .277 with a league-high 22 homers. That’s one more homer than his 2019 season where he had an additional 275 at-bats.