Yankees: Zack Britton decision could indicate richer offseason

Zack Britton #53 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Zack Britton #53 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Yankees’ Zack Britton decision could mean there’s a brighter 2020-21 offseason on the way than we anticipated.

You’ll forgive Yankees fans for assuming the worst the second we found out that Zack Britton’s status for 2021 and beyond actually wasn’t assured.

After an excellent 60-game sprint for the dependable ground ball-inducing lefty, there was an outside chance he’d be hitting the open market this year. If the Yanks declined his 2022 option, totaling $27 million over the next two years, then he’d have the chance to opt out for 2021, too, ending his time in pinstripes far too soon.

So, if the Yankees were going to struggle to keep both DJ LeMahieu and Britton under their umbrella, not to mention Masahiro Tanaka, was there really any reason for us to expect good news to drop as the deadline for the lefty’s option approached on Friday?

Well … about that …

Yeah, it actually happened! It began with a Statue of Liberty emoji, and ended with a declaration that Britton was back for the duration of his deal — it was reported shortly thereafter that the full option had been secured.

So, if the Yankees are willing to commit to Britton for two years so early in the offseason, then perhaps they’re confident they’ll be able to spend enough as the months drag on to make a respectable impression for their fans?

After all, you don’t lock into two years of expensive relief work if you’re not pretty sure you can secure LeMahieu, too. There’s mutual interest here. LeMahieu doesn’t want to go anywhere, and the Yankees’ management has deemed him an essential part of what they do. If they thought it was going to come down to the wire, would they really lock into Britton before negotiations had really even progressed?

Nobody’s asking the team to spend wildly following a bizarre, pandemic-shortened season. But if they’re willing to take advantage of other teams’ financial limitations, then they can maintain their core free agents as well as strengthen their pitching coffer and bench a bit.

Certainly, we’re more optimistic about LeMahieu’s future in pinstripes on Friday than we were 24 hours ago.