BALTIMORE — During the rain delay in Tuesday night’s game against Boston it was reported that the Orioles and Yankees had agreed to a deal that will send Zach Britton to the New York Yankees in exchange for three pitching prospects.
The three minor league pitchers received being sent to Baltimore are Dillon Tate, Cody Carroll and Josh Rogers. Tate and Carroll are ranked No. 9 and No. 15 respectively in the Yankees farm system by MLB.com.
After Manny Machado was sent to Los Angeles last week, trade talks started to heat up for Britton. The Astros and Dodgers joined the Yankees as the teams seriously involved in the talks. It was almost this time last year when the Orioles and Astros appeared to be close on a deal with Britton. However, the reports would end up being squashed at the deadline and it was later reported that Baltimore’s front office did not find the return that appealing.
Things have certainly changed since then and it hasn’t been to the O’s benefit. Britton was once the most coveted reliever in the league with as much trade value as a position player, but after suffering an achilles injury this offseason that value has dropped. Many thought that the O’s would have no chance of dealing their star reliever after the injury but when Britton returned in June there was some room for cautious optimism.
Since that return Britton has been shaky at times but has also looked like his old self on other occasions. The good news for Baltimore is trade deals for relievers are almost always based on what has been done within the past few months and while Britton isn’t pitching like he did in 2016, he has been solid in July. The O’s closer has tossed seven innings so far this month and given up just three hits while earning himself three saves and a win.
Just like with Machado, the Orioles fanbase will be sad to see Britton leave. The fact that the O’s will likely have to face him later this season makes things worse, but at the end of the day these deals had to be made. Britton initially came up through the Orioles farm system as a starter but was later converted to a reliever after finding a lot of success with his sinker. That pitch quickly became his go-to weapon while racking up 135 saves between 2014 and 2017. Everyone will remember Britton’s stellar 2016 campaign where he earned himself some Cy Young and MVP votes with a career high 47 saves and a 0.54 ERA.
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