3 Yankees free agents who definitely won’t return in 2023

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

2. Zack Britton

After displaying remarkable perseverance in attempting to fight back from Tommy John surgery in under a year in order to help the Yankees en route to the playoffs, Zack Britton’s return was remarkably underwhelming and often times sad.

Nobody was counting on Britton to contribute in October, but that didn’t make it any less sad when he returned with a total lack of control, walking six men in 0.2 innings across three games for the Yanks in September. Midway through his third laborious appearance, Britton exited with “left arm fatigue,” which sounded less serious than many feared … only for him to be swiftly exiled to the 60-Day IL days later in a procedural move.

Prior to Britton’s October cameo, it might’ve been fair to predict a pillow contract for him, too, especially with the bullpen so deeply in flux. But the former All-Star will be 35 on Opening Day next season, and the Yankees didn’t get any indication in 2022 of what he might be able to give them moving forward.

If you’re anticipating the Yankees giving out a “two-year” bounce back deal to a former trusted reliever, it would make much more sense for them to bank on Chad Green and hope to steal an inexpensive Year 2 after a Tommy John rehab-filled 2023.

Odds are Green returns with a more electric fastball than ever in his age-32 season. Those same odds are against Britton, who relies on his pinpoint control, ever reaching his peak level of effectiveness again. Best the Yankees don’t mess around here.