Despite winning their last two games, the Baltimore Orioles have been in the midst of trade rumors.
BALTIMORE, Md. — According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Orioles owner Peter Angelos has signed off on general manager Dan Duquette to find a trade partner for their top relievers and outfielder Seth Smith.
Sources: #Orioles owner Peter Angelos today gave GM Dan Duquette the approval to pursue trades for the O’s top relievers and Seth Smith.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 18, 2017
It was reported previously that the Los Angeles Dodgers would look to strike a deal with Baltimore for closer Zach Britton. Britton, 29, is currently 5-5 in save situations this season, missing a chunk of the season due to forearm tightness. Since returning from the disabled list, Britton has allowed two runs in six innings, pitching to a 3.00 ERA. Britton is under team control through 2018.
Despite the shaky numbers, Britton’s sinker looks the same as it did in the past. It has ran from 94-96 mph, sitting just a tick below his mark in 2016. His comfort level seems to be better than it was at the start of the year and Baltimore has saved his arm by not pitching him in consecutive nights.
The other reliever that teams are coveting is Brad Brach. Brach, 31, has assumed the closer’s role in Britton’s absence and has performed admirably. This season, Brach has pitched 40.1 innings, holds a 2-2 record, owns a 2.68 ERA and has recorded 16 saves.
Baltimore has been auditioning Brach to teams as a closer in addition to a very talented setup man, which should drive up the price on his return in a potential trade. His contract is up at the end of the season.
Smith, 35, has also been mentioned as a potential trade chip as well. After being acquired from the Seattle Mariners for former Orioles pitcher Yovani Gallardo, Smith has been a pleasant surprise. In 227 at-bats on the year, Smith is slashing .264/.333/.463 and has hit 11 home runs, only five less than his total in 2016. Smith’s contract is up at the end of the season.
In Brach and Smith’s cases, both players will come at a price, but not as high as the one that Britton will come at. Britton is still under team control through 2018, so the return will most likely be high.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com compared the potential return on Britton to the return that the New York Yankees saw with the trade of Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians.
“Flash back to last summer, when closers were all the rage at the trade deadline,” wrote Crasnick. “The Cubs made a statement by acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees, and the Nationals filled their closer void by adding Mark Melancon in a deal with Pittsburgh. But no trade deadline addition had a bigger impact than Miller, who was dominant for the Indians in August, September and October as Cody Allen‘s late-inning tag-team partner after Miller’s arrival from New York.
Britton has the talent and pedigree to leave his mark on the 2017 season, but multiple dominoes would have to fall for him to be pitching for a contending club by July 31.”
Baltimore could receive a king’s ransom for Britton and it would be able to help replenish their farm system.