Now that the Detroit Tigers have traded Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs, the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres are in even stronger position for their asking prices on Zach Britton and Brad Hand.
The Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals have been among the teams connected to either Britton, Hand or Wilson, and in some cases all three relievers. As it stands, the Indians are said to be making a strong push to pry Britton from the Orioles.
While the Dodgers and others remain involved in a potential trade for the 29-year-old, it appears the Orioles will not trade Britton unless they receive a notable return, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball:
orioles adamant they won't move britton unless they get top, top guy back. ("they shouldn't," says rival). dodgers, astros, maybe indians in
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 31, 2017
The Orioles not willing to part with Britton without a substantial haul was corroborated by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
Important dynamic in Britton negotiations: Needs to be big haul for #Orioles, or owner Angelos will not approve.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2017
There was speculation the Orioles would move their left-handed closer last season while he was in the midst of a historic campaign. Although one year has passed and Britton has not pitched to his 2016 level, he still stands as the most-accomplished left-handed reliever on the market.
Britton has converted all eight save opportunities while pitching to a 3.32 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. He’s yet to allow a home run and has recorded 15 strikeouts in 19 innings. There are some concerns over Britton’s health as he was twice forced to the disabled list because of a left forearm strain.
On Sunday, he pitched in back-to-back games for the first time since suffering the injury in April. That still amounted to limited action, however, as Britton only threw a combined one inning and faced three batters to record two saves.
Britton has one year of salary arbitration remaining before he’s eligible for free agency. Thus, Baltimore could elect to hold onto Britton for another season and look to trade him at next year’s deadline, albeit as a rental.