Why Baltimore Orioles should trade Brad Brach and keep Zach Britton

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29: Zach Britton
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29: Zach Britton /

Baltimore Orioles trade rumors are shifting into first gear as many contenders await if the Orioles will be buyers or sellers at the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline.

The Baltimore Orioles surged back from an 8-0 deficit Friday night against the Chicago Cubs to tie the game in the eighth inning thanks to a two-run home run by slugger Mark Trumbo, his 15th of the season.

However, the Orioles comeback was quickly erased after relief pitcher Brad Brach gave up a solo home run to Cubs shortstop Addison Russell as the Orioles picked up their 47th loss of the season.

The second game of the series, the Orioles starting pitching failed miserably like they have all season. Saturday night, the Orioles lone left-handed pitcher in the starting rotation Wade Miley allowed seven earned runs in 4.2 innings as the Cubs put up 10 runs to defeat the Orioles 10-3.

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But let’s go back to Friday night when Orioles closer Zach Britton played the role of a setup in his fourth game back from the DL as he pitched the eighth inning allowing a hit and a strikeout. And why Orioles manager Buck Showalter elected to keep Brach in the closer role when Britton is healthy and available, I have no clue?

Maybe because the MLB Trade Deadline is near and the Orioles want to showcase Brach’s ability to succeed as a closer which hints that Orioles are leaning towards trading Brach rather than one of, if not, the best closers in Britton. Give credit where it’s due, Brach has done a stellar job filling in as the Orioles closer the last two months as Britton missed nearly two months with a forearm injury.

Since taking over the closer role on May 5, Brach has pitched 23.1 innings with a 2-2 record and 3.47 ERA. On the other hand, Brach recorded three blown saves and allowed four home runs and 17 hits during the stretch. However, two of Brach’s three blown saves occurred in back-to-back appearances, first on May 10 against the Washington Nationals and again on May 16 versus the Detriot Tigers.

So, since those two blown saves in the first half of May, Brach has pitched in 19 games with a much-improved 1.40 ERA with 23 strikeouts, making the right-handed pitcher a viable trade option, regardless if the Orioles are buyers or sellers at the Trade Deadline.

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Nonetheless, Orioles trade rumors are flooded with trading left-handed pitcher Britton with the chance to acquire some high-profile prospects. According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Nationals have expressed interest in Britton.

Why trade one of the best arms in baseball just because the Orioles are having a disappointing season due to their lack of starting pitchers? Instead, the Orioles could retain Britton and trade someone like Brad Brach to acquire talented prospects.

Brach is already 31 years old compared to the 29-year-old and proven closer Britton. Not to mention, Britton is just one of four left-handed pitchers on the Orioles active roster. Let’s compare the two pitchers by analyzing some key statistics.

For example, the Orioles pitching staff has given up 137 home runs this season, which is fourth-most in MLB. When comparing the two pitchers for home runs per nine innings, Britton has the distinct advantage since 2014.

Don’t get me wrong, Brach has done a phenomenal job this season and with teams inquiring the Orioles about their late-inning arms, moving Brach to acquire much-needed pitching prospects would be the smart move rather than giving up on one of the most feared pitchers in baseball.

Next: A cautionary tale for those wanting Orioles to buy at Trade Deadline

The Orioles sit five games back of the final American League wild card spot with the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline quickly approaching on July 31 at 4:00 p.m. ET.