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Orioles trade Zach Britton to Yankees for three pitchers

The Orioles are plowing ahead with their rebuilding scheme. Next up is Zach Britton, who was traded to the Yankees on Tuesday night for three pitching prospects.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The next big move in the Orioles rebuilding journey is done. With a week still to go until the trade deadline, the O’s reached a deal with the division rival Yankees to send Zach Britton to the Bronx in exchange for three prospects. Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported that the deal had been agreed to shortly after Tuesday’s O’s-Red Sox game went into a rain delay.

The three players, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman: righty starter Dillon Tate, lefty starter Josh Rogers, and righty reliever Cody Carroll. Tate and Rogers are both 24, while Carroll is already 25. All three of these players will need to be added to the 40-man roster over the offseason to protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

The Yankees emerged from a field that had reportedly included the Cubs, Astros, and Red Sox to snag Britton from the O’s. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report on the Yankees emerging as the front-runner. According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, things “escalated quickly” with the Yankees and the O’s on Tuesday night. If that’s because the Yankees increased their offer to close a deal, that’s good news for the O’s system.

One player in the reported return early on was righty starter Tate, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. Tate has had his prospect stock drop significantly since going pro but was pitching well for the Yankees Double-A affiliate in Trenton, with 75 strikeouts against 25 walks in 82.2 innings.

Tate was reported to be a healthy scratch on Tuesday night and speculation naturally turned to his possible inclusion in a trade once the rumor of a deal being close emerged. He was the #9 ranked prospect in the Yankees system, according to MLB Pipeline.

Though he’s “only” a reliever, Carroll was the 15th-ranked prospect in the Yankees system, and his performance for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate has certainly been impressive this year: 55 strikeouts in 41.2 innings with just 18 walks allowed. Batters are hitting just .184 against him this season. Carroll was a 22nd round pick in the 2015 draft.

Rogers, who turned 24 earlier this month, was an 11th round pick from the University of Louisville in 2015. Rogers was not on the most recent top 30 Yankees prospects list from MLB Pipeline. The 6’3” lefty has been pitching out of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation this season, with 83 strikeouts and 29 walks in 109.1 innings. That comes along with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.345 WHIP.

The Achilles injury suffered by Britton over the offseason likely took out any chance of his being able to command a top 100-type prospect on the trade market. There just hasn’t been enough time to show that the 2016 incarnation of Britton might be back - and even if teams believe that it is, he’ll now be with his new team for about 60 games, plus any postseason. The value is just not as high in those situations.

As a knee-jerk reaction, it’s a bit of a disappointment in the sense that these are three pitchers on the older side, and there’s nobody who immediately appears to have overwhelming upside. Still, if the O’s can get a real big league starter (as opposed to a Mike Wright-type) and maybe a late-inning reliever for two months of Britton, that helps them head into their rebuild phase.

If the Yankees make it to the wild card game, maybe they will actually use Britton.