The Baltimore Orioles will be without their star closer for six months, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Orioles closing pitcher Zach Britton has ruptured his Achilles and will be sidelined for six months.
BREAKING: Orioles closer Zach Britton ruptured his Achilles yesterday working out in California. Expected to be out at least six months.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 20, 2017
Britton, 29, is set to become a free-agent after the 2018 season. He finished with a 2-1 record, 2.89 ERA, a 1.527 WHIP and 15 saves. Britton was set to make $12.5 million in arbitration this season according to MLB Trade Rumors.
During the course of the 2017 season, Britton dealt with a strained forearm and sore knee. The Achilles injury that he suffered seems to just be a freak accident, but it is all the more unfortunate for an Orioles team that want to get a full return in a trade for him.
Baltimore had began shopping Britton as a trade chip during the 2017 season. They ultimately decided against trading him to the Houston Astros. This decision has seemed to come back to haunt them because he won’t receive the same type of interest after three different injuries.
With the possibility that the Orioles could move some of their expiring contracts (Britton, Manny Machado and Brad Brach) and flip them for prospects, this hurts their ability to improve the team in the future.
The Orioles have a number of decisions to make with this injury. The first is figuring out who will close games next season. One may point to Brach (2-1, 3.18 ERA, 18 saves in 68 innings pitched) because he has done it before. However, Brach has been most dominant in a setup role. Mychal Givens has been touted as “the closer of the future”. It could be time for him to take over the role now. Last season, Givens posted an 8-1 record and 2.75 ERA in 78.2 innings pitched.
The second issue is whether or not they will trade Brach, now that Britton is on the shelf for a considerable period of time. Some would say that Baltimore should onto Brach and use him in the same role that he was used in 2017. They could also decide to cash in on Brach and move him in a deal because his value is now higher, due to Britton’s injury.
It has been an interesting offseason for Baltimore so far. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a great one for them with the injury of their All-Star closer.
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