Now that they have traded franchise cornerstone Manny Machado, baseball’s worst team has moved on to listening to offers for reliever Zach Britton.
It was reported earlier on Saturday that eight teams were interested in the Baltimore Orioles’ reliever. Now comes this note from ESPN’s Buster Olney indicating that the Orioles are looking to move Britton as early as this weekend.
Sources: Orioles doing their business with alacrity — they are looking to move Zach Britton this weekend or early in the week ahead. Lots of contenders continue to be involved in the conversation.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 21, 2018
Following the trade of Brad Hand from the San Diego Padres to the Cleveland Indians and with Jeurys Familia looking like he’s headed to the Oakland Athletics, Britton becomes the most valuable reliever on the trade market.
The 30-year-old former closer has posted a 3.68 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP on the season. To be clear: Britton has not performed up to the level we’ve seen in the past. Remember, he was the game’s best reliever back in 2016 when the former third-round pick posted a 0.54 ERA en route to saving an AL-high 47 games.
Numerous contending teams are going to bid against one another for Britton’s services. That’s pretty clear. And while Baltimore is intent on moving him here soon, that organization has had an issue with actually making moves in a speedy fashion.
Just look at how long the Machado situation played out before he was ultimately dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week.
At 28-50 on the season, Baltimore has no real need for late-inning relief help. The longer this team let’s the Britton situation drag on, the risk of him getting injured becomes the paramount concern.
The reliever is slated to become a free agent following this season and has Scott Boras representing him. That could have an impact on his value.