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Five Reasons The Orioles Could Trade Zach Britton

July 25, 2017
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For at least another day, all was quiet on the Zach Britton front. The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is six days away, and should the Orioles choose to trade the left-handed closer, it obviously will have a significant impact on the club.
 
Here are five reasons the Orioles could trade Britton:
 
1. The team faces long odds to get into the postseason.
 
The Orioles are 48-51 and are contending with roughly half the teams in the American League in the wild-card chase. If the team is going to retool for 2018 and doesn't want to trade third baseman Manny Machado, who like Britton a potential free agent after next season, the closer is their most marketable commodity.
 
It seems unlikely the Orioles will get hot enough during the next two months to play well into October.
 
2. The Orioles could help restock their farm system if they trade Britton.
 
Last July, the New York Yankees got eight players when they traded standout left-handed relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller to the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, respectively.
 
Three of those players have already played in the majors, and if the Orioles got a similar haul for Britton, who has another year under club control, the incoming players could help them contend in future years.
 
Two of the teams rumored to be Britton suitors, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, have two of the strongest farm systems in baseball.
 
3. Britton is unlikely to be re-signed after next season.
 
Britton already has an $11.4 million salary in 2017, and even though he barely pitched during this season's first half and won't come close to duplicating his 2016 season in which he converted all 47 of his save chances, he may still command a hefty raise in his final season of arbitration eligibility.
 
The Orioles may not want to pay Britton $14 million or $15 million to close in 2018.
 
Chapman, who was a free agent after last season, returned to the Yankees on a five-year, $86 million contract. It's hard to see the Orioles paying Britton a similar amount.
 
4. Darren O'Day's contract hasn't paid off.
 
The sidearming right-hander re-signed in December 2015 for four years and $31 million, and since then, he's been on the disabled list three times.
 
In O'Day's first four years in Baltimore (2012-2015), he had a  2.05 ERA and pitched in at least 68 games a season.
 
In 2016 and 2017 combined, O'Day has appeared in 71 games with a 4.25 ERA.
 
While O'Day was 33 when he signed the contract, which runs through 2019, and Britton won't be 30 until December, it may gave the Orioles pause before offering a long-term contract to another reliever.
 
5. There are internal candidates to replace Britton.
 
During Britton's two stints on the disabled list this season, right-hander Brad Brach filled in. While Brach has failed to convert on four of his 20 save opportunities, as many as Britton has blown since the beginning of the 2015 season, he could replace Britton as closer -- if he's not traded himself.
 
Mychal Givens, who is 17-2 with a 2.50 ERA in three seasons with the Orioles, also could move into the closer role..
 
The right-hander won't even be eligible for arbitration until after next season and is under team control through 2021.
 
With Givens and left-hander Donnie Hart, the Orioles have shown they can develop relievers, and they have another left-hander at Double-A Bowie, Tanner Scott, they think highly of.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox