Yankees: 3 Zack Britton trades NYY must pursue this offseason

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SAN DIEGO, CA – AUGUST 10: Mark Melancon #33 of the San Diego Padres reacts after a 6-5 win over the Miami Marlins at Petco Park on August 10, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

2. Zack Britton to the Padres

Those sneaky San Diego Padres, folks. They simply love to trade! Especially in hypotheticals.

The San Francisco Giants seem to wisened to bank big money on a reliever coming off a downward trend. The Padres, on the other hand, play fast and loose, and certainly could be glomming on names to the bullpen in the 2021-22 offseason, especially depending on whether or not they’re able to eke past the Reds into the Wild Card Game.

If San Diego doesn’t make the dance, after all the aggressiveness they displayed this past winter, they’re gonna…well, they’re gonna do more San Diego things. Match aggression with aggression.

The Padres’ bullpen trust tree remains a bit barren, with Mark Melancon locking things down on a cheap one-year deal (with a mutual option for 2022) and a bizarre cast of characters surrounding him, highlighted by Emilio Pagán and Craig Stammen. Nobody in the Pads ‘pen throws flames. It’s typically a guile-reliant group, and a 34-year-old Britton would fit right in.

Again, if the Yankees want to maximize their prospect package, they’ll have to kick in the requisite amount of cash, but the Padres have not been shy about using chips from their extremely deep system to supplement the MLB roster. Perhaps the Yanks can convince AJ Preller to surrender Ethan Elliott, the 24-year-old lefty who MLB Pipeline ranks 10th in the system. He’s currently got 87 strikeouts piled up in 70.1 Double-A innings, and could join a deep Bombers pitching staff in the upper ranks.

If the money doesn’t match, they can plumb from the depths and try for RHP Mason Fox (No. 21) or RHP Jordan Humphreys (No. 23), two players who can theoretically challenge for 40-man spots right away.