After the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros failed to complete a deal before last year’s MLB trade deadline involving relief pitcher Zach Britton, will the second time around be a charm as the 2018 MLB trade deadline approaches?
The report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe comes a season after the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros faltered on a deal that would’ve sent Britton to Houston prior to the 2017 MLB trade deadline.
Britton, 30, has tossed three innings since his return after suffering a ruptured Achilles that forced him to miss almost the entire first half of this season. The southpaw made his first appearance of 2018 on June 12 against the Boston Red Sox and allowed three walks, along with a strikeout in one inning of work.
Two days later, Britton returned to pitch in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins where he struck out two and didn’t allow a hit in a much better outing.
And lastly, he made his third appearance of the season in the Orioles 10-4 victory over the Marlins to prevent the sweep. Britton has yet to allow a run this season.
Cafardo also reported that Britton is indeed 100 percent healthy and the more outings he received from Orioles manager Buck Showalter, the more confidence he’ll gain to becoming the predominant closer he once was a few years back.
The Astros have been in search of a closer for the past couple of years and they’ve kept their eye on Britton as the 2018 MLB trade deadline inches closer.
However, if a deal were to fall through again, the Orioles lefty is in the final season of his contract, making him a free agent after this season. The Astros or any other team could easily sign him this offseason, but if you’re the Orioles, you must trade Britton and get some kind of value in return, more specifically, elite prospects.
The Baltimore Orioles third-round draft pick in the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft enjoyed his best seasons with the Orioles from 2014-2016 as Britton accumulated 120 saves, 215 strikeouts, and a 1.38 ERA. Most noteworthy, Britton was selected to back-to-back All-Star games in 2015 and 2016.
Whether he’s is traded ahead of the 2018 MLB trade deadline or joins a new ball club through free agency this offseason, Britton is likely throwing his final season with the Orioles.