After missing one year due to Tommy John surgery that was part of an operation to also remove a bone chip, former All-Star closer Zack Britton hoped to pitch his way into a key role for the New York Yankees last September.
He only wound up appearing in three games before going back on the 60-day injured list due to left shoulder fatigue. It represented a disappointing finish for Britton, who had signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Yankees in January 2019.
Britton’s contract included a unique clause that required the Yankees to make a decision on their $14 million team option for 2022 after the 2020 season. Had they not exercised it, the left-hander could have elected free agency before the 2021 campaign.
Now back on the market, Britton has twice thrown in front of teams this offseason. His latest session reportedly was attended by the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers are believed to be a team that ultimately could sign Britton:
The Dodgers, Angels and Rangers are seen as three potential landing spots for Zack Britton, and the Mets, with the obvious Buck-Baltimore connection, long have been linked as well. @Ken_Rosenthal also reports the Cubs and Giants viewed Britton’s showcase today in Miami.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 15, 2023
Britton established himself as a back-to-back All-Star with the Baltimore Orioles in 2015 and 2016, and was traded to the Yankees during the 2018 season. The Dodgers had interest in Britton at that time and also the 2017 deadline, both instances when he was going by Zach Britton.
He performed well upon joining New York and carried that success into 2019 and 2020. However, injuries have since thrown Britton’s career off course.
Britton had his elbow scoped in March 2021, which kept him on the Il for the first two two months of the season. He returned in June but missed more time because of a hamstring strain. Britton then suffered a left elbow strain upon making a short-lived return and that wound up leading to Tommy John.
Should the Dodgers sign Zack Britton?
Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes and manager Dave Roberts have both expressed confidence in the bullpen at separate points during the offseason. However, the Dodgers have a history of being open to high-upside plays, and that’s what Britton represents.
Furthermore, if he were to sign with the Dodgers and recapture some of his previous form, that would give the club an option for closer.
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