Reports: Yanks retain Britton, part with Gardner, Happ

The New York Yankees will pick up Zack Britton’s 2022 contract option while declining the 2021 options on Brett Gardner and J.A. Happ, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.

Britton, a 32-year-old left-handed reliever, had a clause in his contract that required the Yankees to decide on his 2022 option right after the 2020 World Series. If the team had declined the 2022 option, Britton had the right to opt out of his deal, leaving behind his scheduled $13 million salary for 2021.

Instead, Britton reportedly is now tied to the club for the next two years. The Yankees paid him $13 million in both 2019 and 2020.

While the team didn’t make an official announcement, Britton tweeted Thursday night, “Very excited to continue the pursuit of a championship with the @Yankees”

Britton went 1-2 with eight saves and a 1.89 ERA in 20 appearances for the Yankees in the 60-game 2020 schedule. He gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings during four postseason outings.

A two-time All-Star, Britton pitched for the Baltimore Orioles from 2011-18 before joining the Yankees in a July 2018 trade. In 417 career appearances (46 starts), he is 35-25 with 153 saves and a 3.04 ERA.

Gardner, 37, will receive a $2.5 million buyout with the team reportedly deciding against exercising his $10 option. He hit .223 with a .354 on-base percentage, a .392 slugging percentage, five homers and 15 RBIs in 49 games this year. In the playoffs, he went 7-for-19 (.368) with a homer and three RBIs in six games.

An All-Star in 2015 and a Gold Glove winner in 2016, Gardner has spent his entire 13-year career with the Yankees. In 1,548 games, he has a .259/.343/.401 batting line with 129 homers, 539 RBIs and 270 stolen bases.

Happ had a $17 million vesting option for 2021, but he didn’t reach the pro-rated threshold of 10 starts to have the money guaranteed. He finished 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA in nine regular-season starts, then yielded four runs in 2 1/3 innings in his lone postseason outing.

Happ, who turned 38 earlier this month, owns a career 123-92 record with a 3.98 ERA in 324 games (298 starts).