Phillies: Considering their real off-season needs now

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to getting the save during the ninth inning to beat the Kansas City Royals at Ring Central Coliseum on September 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Liam Hendriks #16 of the Oakland Athletics reacts to getting the save during the ninth inning to beat the Kansas City Royals at Ring Central Coliseum on September 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Zack Britton

This signing will have to depend on something like luck because Zack Britton may not actually be available. But then again he might be, and if he is, he should be snapped up to be the second left-hander in the bullpen with Alvarez.

In 2019, the Yankees signed Britton to a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year, but the option has to be exercised after the second year of the period – in other words, a few days after the 2020 World Series.

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What this means is that New York could be committing themselves to $27 million more for Britton for 2021 and 2022. If they don’t, Britton can choose to exercise the option for next season alone or opt out.

If he opts out, and it appears he may well be considering that path, an opportunity opens up for the Phillies.

Britton has been quite sturdy and effective recently. In the truncated COVID season, he appeared in every third game for the Yankees, and posted a 1.89 ERA with a WHIP of 1.000. If the Bombers opt out of his contract after the fall classic, it would seemingly make sense for him to try to get the better part of his $27 maybe-million elsewhere rather than wait another year in his early thirties, risking injury.

A problem for the Phillies here in this iffy scenario is that they may only have a two-day window to pounce on Britton, between the third and fifth days after the World Series. The pitcher has said that his understanding is that, if New York opts out on the contract on the third day after the Series, he gets only two days to say whether he wants to stay with the club another year.

Could the Phillies get a deal done with a new interim GM in place? Who knows? That this opportunity may open up, however, should be something on their radar.

If Philadelphia could get all three of these pitchers, it’s not clear who would be their closer, since two have been successful closers and the third, Britton, has been an eighth-inning bridge to the closer. Moreover, the Phillies may decide to keep Hector Neris as well.

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But with those four relievers and Alvarez, even a closer-by-committee approach should produce a far better bullpen than the Phillies had this past summer.