Any teams interested in Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton will have their work cut out for them. According to a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag, the Orioles have their sights set quite high when it comes to a package of players for Britton.
How high, you ask? Well, how about “somewhere between what the Yankees got for Aroldis Chapman and what the Yankees got for Andrew Miller”?
Based on the asks, rivals say the Orioles have signalled to teams that they seek something above what the Yankees got for Chapman but not quite what they got for Miller. The Yankees received top prospect Gleyber Torres in the Chapman deal, and top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield in the Miller deal, setting a standard for superstar relievers.
Yikes. That’s aggressive.
A team acquiring Britton would need to likely part with a top 25 prospect, another top 100 prospect, and a third piece, which is a significant price for a reliever – even one has good as Britton.
The 29-year old is making $11.4 million this season, and is eligible for arbitration for the final time this offseason. He’s thrown just 18 1/3 innings this year while dealing with a strained forearm (DANGER!), striking out 14, walking eight, and inducing a ground balls at a typically strong 70%.
When healthy, Britton is one of the best relievers in baseball – he pitched to a minuscule 0.54 ERA for the Orioles last season, saving 47 games without blowing one, striking out 74, walking 18, and getting ground balls at an 80% clip. His ERA was under 2.00 in both 2014 and 2015 to go along with 35+ saves and ground ball rates north of 75%.
The Orioles are likely placing his value between Chapman and Miller because of the difference in control between the three players – Chapman was eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, while Miller was signed (affordably) through 2018.
A player like Britton could undoubtedly shore up a team’s bullpen and make managers breathe a little easier. The Astros (4.28 bullpen ERA) and Nationals (5.10 bullpen ERA) seem like the best fits among contenders, but the Dodgers (NL-best 2.81 bullpen ERA) have also been linked. The Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies also could be fits, but Milwaukee’s focus seems to be on starting pitching, and Colorado could be done after acquiring Pat Neshek from the Phillies earlier this week.
The trade deadline is Monday afternoon, and Britton is just one of many dominoes left to fall. Fellow Orioles reliever Brad Brach is another. This is going to be a hectic 24 hours, isn’t it?