2:08pm: Offers are still “lacking” from the O’s perspective, Heyman tweets.
12:33pm: Indeed, an executive with one team even thinks Houston could be close to landing Britton as the team engages in “serious” pursuit of the star lefty, Rosenthal tweets.
Meanwhile, despite some indications to the contrary, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag hears the Orioles would still consider dealing Britton to the Nationals. (Twitter link.) That said, Baltimore is looking for an impact prospect from Washington or any other team.
And the Dodgers also are still not out of the running on Britton, Rosenthal tweets, leaving the field largely wide open.
12:28pm: Despite evidently finding a deal for Francisco Liriano, the Astros are still engaged on Britton, per Rosenthal (via Twitter). But teams aren’t sure even at this hour just how inclined Baltimore is to make a deal.
12:23pm: The Indians are now considered to be a “long shot” to acquire Britton, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
11:46am: FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that the O’s remain “adamant” about not moving Britton without getting an elite prospect in return. ESPN’s Buster Olney, though, spoke to one evaluator who feels that the O’s have been steadily moving toward a trade of the lefty (Twitter link).
9:46am: MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers and Astros also remain in the mix for Britton (Twitter links). One executive from an interested team tells Rosenthal that it’s “still unclear” if the Orioles will actually part ways with their closer.
9:42am: The Indians are “pushing hard” in a bid to acquire left-hander Zach Britton from the Orioles, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Cleveland was tied to righty Addison Reed earlier this morning, but the Mets’ closer now looks to be off the board as he’s reportedly headed to the Red Sox.
Britton, 29, entered the season on the short list of baseball’s very best relievers, but he’s missed significant time with a forearm injury in 2017 and has seen his K/BB numbers trend in the wrong direction when healthy. He’s also pitched on back-to-back days just once since being activated from the disabled list and is earning a steep $11.4MM this year.
That said, Britton is controllable via arbitration this offseason, and if he does indeed round back into top form, he’d give Cleveland an unparalleled combination of bullpen weapons, pairing with fellow lefty Andrew Miller and right-hander Cody Allen. When at his best, Britton uses a mid-90s sinker to generate grounders at a historic rate and boasts elite strikeout and walk rates. It’s been debated for a few weeks now whether the Orioles would ultimately be open to parting with Britton and whether any team would risk parting with the elite prospects necessary to acquire him in light of this season’s red flags.