3 possible outside replacements for Zack Britton in 2022
1. Andrew Chafin
Chafin might not blow hitters away with his velocity, and he doesn’t have a bowling ball sinker like Britton, but like we said, the Yankees need innings and effective outings.
Feel free to call Chafin’s career 2021 campaign a bit flukey … because it may have been. Before finishing with a 1.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 230 ERA+, 0.93 WHIP and 64 strikeouts in 71 games (68.2 innings), he hadn’t come close to that production since 2015. But he’s been rock solid ever since outside of the shortened 2020 (and we don’t care about that).
Specifically, in 2021, Chafin (a lefty!) was dominating hitters with his fastball, sinker and slider. He finished in the upper percentile for hard hit percentage, expected ERA, expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, barrel percentage and chase rate. He was above average in average exit velocity, strikeout percentage and walk percentage, with his only below average categories being whiff percentage, fastball velocity, and fastball spin (all according to Baseball Savant).
But perhaps more importantly. Chafin is a machine. As a reliever, he’s appeared in 66 or more games five times out of the last seven seasons (with 2020 obviously not allowing him to come close to that workload). An injury-shortened 2016 was the only true culprit.
Remember when Green was tremendously overused in 2021? Remember the strain the starting rotation put on the bullpen, too? Acquiring a guy who has no issue absorbing a major workload in any relief scenario would be a necessary upgrade for manager Aaron Boone.
Chafin has a career 3.30 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 131 ERA+ and 1.24 WHIP in 412 games. That’ll play. Heading into his age-32 season, he might cost more than the others because of his elite 2021 showing, but the price simply can’t be prohibitive for the Bombers. If it’s $5 million per year, pull the trigger.