Since the 2015 Winter Meetings, the Los Angeles Dodgers have seemingly been in search of a second dominant closer to pair with Kenley Jansen. Aroldis Chapman was the first target, and more recently he’s been followed by the likes of Zach Britton and Brad Hand.
The southpaws were among the left-handed relief pitchers believed to be on the trade market at the non-waiver deadline this season. Though, in both cases there were also questions whether the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres were truly motivated to move forward with a trade.
The Dodgers eventually bowed out of the Britton sweepstakes and instead acquired Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson, along with Yu Darvish.
With the General Managers Meetings kicking off this week, the Chicago Cubs and Dodgers contacted the Orioles to explore a potential trade for Britton, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are two of the teams that have spoken to the Baltimore Orioles about star closer Zach Britton, sources tell FanRag Sports.
It was reported last July that the Houston Astros and Orioles reached an agreement on a trade involving the All-Star closer, only for Baltimore to have a late change of heart.
Britton finished the season 2-1 with 15 saves, a 2.89 ERA, 3.40 FIP and 1.53 WHIP in 38 games. His ERA, FIP and WHIP were all career highs since becoming a full-fledge relief pitcher in 2014. Moreover, Britton’s saves were an all-time low mark.
The 29-year-old was forced to the disabled list in April due to a left forearm strain. He made a relatively quick return but the injury forced him back to the DL after two appearances in May. Britton’s velocity and effectiveness fluctuated over the duration of the season, lending to some concern.
Britton is eligible for salary arbitration this winter, then can become a free agent after next season. That may diminish the Orioles’ return for the two-time All-Star, which in turn could lend to owner Peter Angelos refusing to approve any trade.