By Ryan Decker
Tuesday night it was reported by Ken Rosenthal that Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos gave Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette the go-ahead to pursue trades for relievers Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and Darren O’Day.
The market for Brach and O’Day will be intermittent, though the feeling around Britton is completely different.
The Orioles closer has been rumored to have drawn interest from the Dodgers and contending teams such as the Diamondbacks and Nationals could or have shown interest, as well.
As much as O’s fans would hate to see possibly the best closer in baseball be traded away, maybe it’s the right move for the franchise.
Below are five reasons why the Orioles should trade Britton.
1. Take advantage of the market
As ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick pointed out Tuesday, Britton is possibly the “Andrew Miller” of this year’s trade deadline in terms of relievers.
Despite not throwing a lot this season due to injury, Britton will be the most sought after reliever on the market. This thought was even more validated with David Robertson being traded to the Yankees Tuesday evening
This thought was even more validated with David Robertson being traded to the Yankees Tuesday evening.
With good relief pitching being one of the biggest recipes for success in the postseason, Britton should garner a large haul in return from a contender.
2. Closers aren’t for the long haul
No longer are Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman running around. The lifespan of an All-Star closer is not long.
Maybe Britton has reached the end of his reign.
Of course, there’s a lot of speculation in saying that, but it’s not out of the question that the forearm injury that Britton suffered earlier this year could continue to linger, and he won’t ever be the same.
Trade him for a number of prospects and potentially swindle a team into taking a reliever that’s over the hump.
3. Don’t get “Jim Johnson’d”
It wasn’t too long ago that the Orioles had who, at the time, looked to be one of the most dominant closers in baseball in Jim Johnson.
Johnson had back-to-back 50+ save seasons before falling off the face of the earth, luckily for Baltimore, he was no longer on the club at that point. He’s only combined to have 53 in the 3.5 seasons since.
He’s only combined to have 53 in the 3.5 seasons since.
Take the lesson from a few years ago and apply it here.
4. Replacements are available
Even in today’s era of bullpens being stockpiled with more than capable relievers, most teams couldn’t withstand trading a player of Britton’s caliber.
Nor would they have viable candidates to replace him and not miss much of a beat.
The Orioles don’t fit into that category.
Fellow relievers Brach and O’Day have both filled in in the closer roll this year and last, and are above-average relievers. If one remains on the roster after the deadline, there in lies Baltimore’s closer.
Also in the pen is Mychal Givens, who with just two years of MLB experience under his belt, can be molded into an All-Star closer.
The Orioles have options in house.
5. Not getting to him anyways
Despite ranking in the top-half of baseball in saves recorded this season, the Orioles are 20th in the majors in terms of save opportunities.
It’s apparent the team is bracing to go in full-sell mode, which when it happens means more losses than wins.
Baltimore also has a pitching staff that ranks dead last in the American League in ERA (5.10) and has given up 81 more runs than the offense has scored — also worst in the AL and fourth-worst in the majors.
If you’re not going to be in the position often enough to use him, get something out of him in return, even if he’s not on your team.
Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is Monday, July 31.
Multiple trades have already been made, with more to follow. Expect Zach Britton to be involved in one in the coming days.