10:16am: Britton will undergo surgery tomorrow, per Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com (via Twitter). The hope is the nature of the injury will allow for a somewhat shorter-than-typical recovery time, as Ghiroli tweets.
9:37am: In a stroke of terrible luck for lefty Zach Britton and the Orioles, the closer has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during offseason workouts, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (links to Twitter). Britton is expected to be sidelined for at least four to six months — a more precise expectation will only be known after surgery — so it seems the best-case scenario will be a return over the summer.
As Rosenthal notes, there are several layers of misery to unpack here. Most immediately, Britton was preparing and hoping for a healthy 2018 campaign after dealing with arm issues in the just-completed season. Instead, he’ll need to rehabilitate this unexpected injury — which is to his right Achilles, per MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter) — before building back up into pitching form.
MLBTR projected that Britton would command $12.2MM in his final trip through the arbitration process. While it’s too late for the O’s to pull back their decision to tender him a contract, the club could end up releasing Britton to avoid paying him the full contract value. So long as he’s released before the 16th day of Spring Training, the O’s can avoid all but thirty days worth of salary.
Of course, the lost cash is only a small part of the problem here from the team’s perspective. Baltimore has toyed with the idea of trading Britton ever since last summer, when the club nearly did just that. The idea was to cash in the former ace closer to address other needs — namely, a still-glaring dearth of starters. Of course, the club was also reluctant to part with a pitcher that had been one of the game’s most dominant relievers in 2015 and 2016.
Instead of making that tough call, the O’s will seemingly be left with nothing to show for their final season of control over Britton. Perhaps it’s still conceivable the organization will retain him and hope he’s able to return late in the year, though that’d mean dedicating cash that could instead go to filling out the rotation. And it’s somewhat hard to imagine a scenario where Britton returns in time to turn into a trade chip, so there’s not really any downside protection if his recovery is slowed.
At this point, then, making the best of the situation for the Orioles could mean pursuing some kind of multi-year arrangement with Britton. The southpaw is still reasonably young — he’s just days away from his 30th birthday — so can still hope to find a major free agent payday in the future. And if he goes onto the open market, he’d likely be looking at a two-year rehab deal anyway (such as those signed recently by Drew Smyly and Michael Pineda). Since Baltimore is already on the hook for some cash, perhaps there’s an avenue for the sides to find a mutually agreeable deal that will allow Britton to work back to health with the only organization he has ever played for.
Even if there’s some lemonade to be crafted from this lemon, the news represents a big hit to the Orioles’ hopes for the coming season. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether the loss of Britton will increase the organization’s willingness to trade away star third baseman Manny Machado, another key player who’s entering his final season of contract control. Of course, it now seems unlikely that righty Brad Brach will end up on the move, as he’s the obvious replacement for Britton in the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, teams that had been weighing pursuit of Britton will now need to adjust their strategies. There are some high-end late-inning arms left in free agency, though not top-tier lefties remain. Organizations that wish to add a closing-capable southpaw will now surely turn their gaze to the Padres’ Brad Hand, who already came with a justifiably lofty trade value.
Oh crap. Guess he’s not getting moved…wish him all the best in his recovery.
Yeah maybe the Orioles will come down to earth on their demands for one year of Machado. Holding costs are not zero, as Britton just demonstrated.
Lessoned learned for Baltimore, Britton should have been traded last year at the deadline….smh. They better be smart and trade Machado now to get the best deal or risk getting considerably less at the deadline or hate to say it AN INJURY
The owner of the Orioles is an idiot
Tough for Britton when he was on the brink of FA.
If he doesn’t accept a 2 year contract with the O’s (ala Drew Smyly), then how can the Orioles pay his 12.2 MM contract for (maybe) 2 months of relief work?
They would be better off letting him go, eating 30 days salary and use that money to sign a starter.
I sincerely hope so, so the dodgers can sign him to a 2 year deal. They can afford to let him rehab all summer and have him for 2 playoff runs, and he can hopefully have a healthy season in 2019 and cash in as a free agent after that season.
I think eating the 30 days is the only logical choice unless they O’s use that as a negotiation for a multiple year contract. It would be interesting to see how the arbitration would go. I would assume the O’s would offer the minimum they are allowed which I think is 20% less than last year’s salary.
Arrrrgh. O’s simply cannot catch a break. Trading him would have gotten the team some valuable prospects. Now we can hope he comes back and is good enough to trade, but I won’t be holding my breath.
Orioles hold this L
Brach could still move. Givens, not Brach, is the longer-term (if not immediate) answer to close.
Wow that sucks. It’s also such an Orioles thing to happen though
They better pull the trigger on Machado – someone is picking up his voodoo doll now…
That’s just terrible. Season over, fa value crashed. Wishing the best for him and his family. Get better soon Zach
FA value crashed no. He’ll still pitch this season and all of next season before he’s a free agent
He’s a free agent after this season and likely won’t pitch until July at the earliest
I don’t think he’s under contract or team control for 2019.
That’s really really bad for him.
worse for the O’s, they really botched that one up. Should have traded him months ago.
Bad for the Orioles, much worse for Britton. If he looked anything like the 2014-2016 version of himself, he would’ve hit the market at 30 in line for something pushing $100M probably. I’d imagine the Orioles release him now, as the article says, but even if he does manage a few innings at the end of the year, he’s probably looking at $20-30M max in free agency. This is pretty similar to Wilson Ramos a few years ago, although Britton’s stock was down a bit already I guess.
Obviously, the Orioles lose some assets that they could’ve bought at the deadline, but they should’ve traded him a year ago. When they decided to try to compete (ill-advised IMO), they accepted that their players’ trade value would decrease as a trade-off. This is the risk you take
$100 million? lol. I imagine more in the $60 million-$70 million range
Jansen and Chapman both got above $80M, and Britton was essentially as good as they are. He’s a bit older than they are, so maybe he would’ve had to settle for 4 years, although the relief pitching market has ticked up even further, so I think 5 would’ve been on the table, assuming, obviously, that he bounced back. Wade Davis is going to end up around $60-70M, and Mark Melancon already did, and Britton was better than both of them, so that feels low.
Moot point now, though.
That really sucks for Zach, but for Orioles management, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!
dynamite drop in monty
What’s wrong with you?
I thought the same thing of the comment you replied to – from a personal standpoint, it’s really sad news for Britton. From a baseball perspective – which is why we’re on this page – it’s just another chapter in BAL’s run of bad luck and mismanagement.
I’m going to go with mismanagement
Steven St Croix
The price for Brad Hand just went up with one less LH arm on the market.
The pads reeeeealy need to consider flipping hand now. He can help speed up their rebuild
Feel bad for britton hoping for a speedy recovery
For the padres though, it’ll make preller look like a genius for not caving in and trading him if preller gets the package he’s been holding out for.
But anyone who isn’t an idiot didn’t need this to happen to know we should have traded him last offseason.
Between this non-move and the Davis contract, I don’t know what Duquette’s dumber decision is.
“I don’t know what Peter Angelo’s dumber decision is.”
There, fixed that for you.
MT in Baltimore
The Davis contract is on the Owner, Not Dan Duquette..
Duquette couldn’t move Zach at the Trade Deadline last Summer because he was injured.
As bad as the situation is now with Zach, the hideous Davis contract will have a much longer tail of unfavorability for the Orioles—again, on the Owner.
I thought the reason Britton wasn’t traded at last year’s deadline was due to the medicals of one of the players set to go from Houston to the Orioles.
The original comment suggests that Britton should have been moved last offseason, not during last year’s trade deadline. Hindsight 20/20, but I think it was an error on the Orioles management as well.
Yeah, I was barking the move should have been made this time last year. When a relief pitcher (a volatile commodity year to year) comes off a historic performance, and you are a team that doesn’t have a realistic shot, you should make that move every time.
As far as tail of unfavorability goes, that’s a tough call, but if you compare potential returns on two years of Britton last off-season to what Chapman pulled for a half-season, I’d say not moving Britton is a bigger disappointment than Davis.
The problem last off season wasn’t Britton. It was the health of one of the guys coming from Houston. It’s all woulda coulda shoulda but I was in favor of trading off parts last year but the front office decided to add parts and not trade. Smh….
Damn and that’ll keep him out awhile. Curious how he got it
Ah. Ken said it was while working out. Still sucks
So brutal. Worst timing
*brings popcorn to the comments section*
yeesh that’s rough for Britton
it’s ok to laugh at the Orioles though right
Not worst thing for O’s fan. He should be back on mound by early July, giving him plenty of time to build value for a deadline deal.
I mean you’re right, he could have had Tommy John, then you’ve really got no shot at rebuilding any value
There were questions about him that weren’t fully answered last season, so these first few months – if BAL didn’t trade him in the offseason – were going to be big to recapture any presumed lost value from injuries. And now he doesn’t have that much time to do that before the TD 2018, if everything goes according to plan. He’ll still have value, but considering what RPs have been going for, he could have gotten a nice return for BAL if he had a few good months to start the season.
now they really need to trade Machado. But they won’t because they are behaving is if they have never traded anyone in their organization before. -_-
Machado gets moved any day now
DD what are you doing my man lol. Last year was the year to cash in. Now have to try and flip him at the deadline for whatever he can get. Typical Orioles front office
Wish him a full recovery
Now .. people used to make fun of John Kruk for coming to spring training sporting his couch potato offseason regimine … well you can bet he never tore an Achilles in the offseason! He is smarter than he looks lol
All kidding aside, I hope he recovers
Is this a crazy idea? Since the Orioles are so budget conscious, should they sign Britton to an extension now? Sure it’s a risk for them, but the kind of risk that smaller market teams need to make. It grants Britton some long term stability when his health is in doubt, and nets the Orioles a high quality player for a cheap price if things pan out well.
Ah yes the false narrative that the Orioles don’t spend any money. They were 10th in payroll in 2017.
I should’ve been more specific: they don’t spend money on pitching. I’ve heard more than enough Orioles fans complain about this. They are always seeking a deal (see: their rotation the past 20 years), which is why I threw this out there.
You are assuming Britton would sign a cheap contract. Why wouldn’t he just get healthy, prove himself and sign a big deal?
Because getting healthy, proving himself and signing a big deal isn’t a guaranteed outcome. In this scenario he may choose the security of, say, a three year incentive laden deal over taking the chance on himself returning to form and landing a more fruitful contract. Just throwing it out there.
Very wierd huh. Bad for him. Hope he heals quick. What a way to protect a player during the offseason geez
aaaand back to fielding offers for Machado
Oh s*it that’s insane !!!! If you include his rehab he won’t be back till probably around or even after the trade deadline depending on how his rehab goes. What’s worse is what if he isn’t the same after this ?
They could have gotten a Kings ransom for him if they flipped him at the deadline. Now his value just tanked considering how he is a pending FA
Wow… I know the Orioles we’re looking for young starting pitches to control for Machado. I wonder how this will affect their any of those possible deals.
He can have mine
Feel terrible for Britton and wish him a speedy recovery but this is exactly what the Orioles and Angelos deserve
The O’s saw what the Yankees got when we traded Miller and Chapman to two teams desprate for a closer in 2016 and were probably trying to do the same thing with Britton. Now that plan goes down the drain unless he recovers and returns sooner than projected
MT in Baltimore
The Orioles had their hands tied because Britton wasn’t 100% healthy at the deadline…Bad luck in this instance.
Typical of a bad ran organization
Typical of poor grammar.
Orioles gonna Orioles
He won’t play in 2018. Way too optimistic.
Have a close Rays source telling me Longo to the giants is a done deal and should be announced shortly.
If they did trade for Longo, you can bet they somehow found a way to slide Span into that deal for luxury tax purposes. Giants would need to throw in a prospect or two I’d imagine. I suppose Pence is another salary dump option, but I don’t see that being as likely.
I’m reading this on the comment section on the internet, so it must be true. Good for the Giants.
What ya got on Chris Archer and Colome?
Are you asking me about them Collin or someone else?
Yankees should make another call adding Dellin Betances to their Machado offer for fun.
That could be interesting. Betances, Frazier, Adams or Acevedo?
Dellin Betances, Cliff Frazier, Chad Green (or Adam Warren) and 1 top pitching prospect (like Adams, Sheffield or German) for manny Machado seems to be like a very good offer. If one more prospect is needed, I could see Miguel Andjar be added.
Worst idea ever for one year of machado. They would maybe let go of “Cliff”. Dilly Dilly!
I agree. Some fans just want trades to just make trades. Yankees already improved their team with the Stanton trade and allowing their organization observe how their top prospect will do on the infield. No use of trading all of these prospect and depth of a rental.
One, having machado would give the Yankees a leg up in signing him. Two, with machado playing for the Yankees for one season, he may enjoy playing with this team and be willing to sign/extend for a longer period at a discount.
Three, Betances is a known quantity that may ‘be wearing his welcome thin in NY. Frazier will not play with the addition of Stanton and with Ellsbury and Gardner still on the team Orioles want 2 starting pitchers (Green or Warren and one of the pitching prospects). Finally with Machado on-board, Andjar does not have a place to play.
You have to make the offer attractive to get Machado from the Orioles.
That’s a massive overpay. What are you smoking ? Lmaoooo
everything an over pay for Yankee fans. They want want want but they don’t want to give or give garbage. Get over yourselves.
Considering how machado has one year of control and those players can be traded for top notch longer term pieces yes it is an overpay
They don’t even need machado
Yanks won’t do that they will just sign him next year!
Yank fans think they will sign everyone. Lux tax says no. You blew you wad on Stranton. If you think the Yanks are going to spend over a half Billion next Winter that is Billion with a B your only setting yourself up for disappointment. Enjoy Stranton and his 280 Million dollars your paying. When he DON’T Opt out in 2020 your stuck with the whole bill. BANK IT! Then you have A Rod all over again in 4 years trying to buy him out. If you think your going to trade him your stupid. His NTC still is in effect and the Dodgers have all their youth to pay and major Lux tax issues of their own, going back years.. Good luck with that one. Yank fans think with their @$$ not their head.
Sigh more anti Yankee anger smh. Stanton willl look like a bargain compared to Manny and Harper imo
Yeah whatever. When your stuck paying the bill over 10 years and nowhere to trade him you be eating that just like they did with A Rod last year. He may be a bargain, but he is also a liability in future signings. Wait till you have to pay your youth, and Judge. Again you think with your @$$ not your head. But what does one expect it is a Yanks fan. Good luck. Don’t be sad when your pipe dream of a Macho Harper signing next year doesn’t happen. lol
Anger hahaha maybe in your dreams as Yank fans seem to think. Anger NOT even close man. I’m laughing at you not with you. You did the rest of MLB a favor. One thing I do know. If you don’t make it to the WS this year Make it not even win it, everyone will be looking at this trade as a bust and money that could have been spent better else where. Yanks rather look good and get attention and lose. Than look bad and win.
How many family dinners did your gold chain set you back?
The tone of your posts scream anger to me my friend
They are in fantastic shape and don’t want machado, Feel better now ? Many of our fans don’t want Manny and know our team doesn’t need him. And you are yet another person calling Yankee fans dumb, yaaaawn
His name is Clint.
The Yanks aren’t getting Macho so get over it
quite unfortunate for Britton. that being said this is why the jays should trade Donaldson now and the Os should trade Machado. Maximize your asset Wait and you take a chance this happens.
Unless you have a clear shot at contending, ALWAYS trade players at the peak of their value. Fans will get over it. Duquette takes the loss on this non-move.
That’s a great way to never contend.
What achilles is it? Which one would be worse? Pushing off the mound or landing? Are there any other examples of pitchers having a ruptured achilles besides Wainwright, because if so this does not look good.
Doesn’t really matter. The achilles is the the main tendon to connect everything. This is worse than ACL. Im 99% sure this ends the 2018 season and he won’t be back this year. More important it may even end his career. With as much strain and pressure you go through as a MLB player not only in games but workouts, it may be it. At the very very least he will not be the same, and it doubtful he will be able to come back. If so very limited. All depends on the achilles and the surgery. I’m sure he have the best surgeon in US on it as have other player like Swarb ect who have had major surgery. Time will tell. But I’m almost certain he won’t be back in 2018 if so maybe “Post” season so use that word carefully Balt post season. That the talel of the tape.
termination pay… this cost Britton millions
Damn that sucks. Does this make the O’s more inclined to sell now?
A big market team with money to burn should jump in with a lowish ball offer to Balt.
Britton’s career has gone straight down the toilet following Buck’s refusal to use him in a tied wild card game.
Bad juju in Baltimore
Still don’t understand why buck didn’t put Britton in that game
Oriole’s! The Met’s of the American League!!
If I’m the Pirates, I make Rivero available now that Britton is out.
For an insane return.
Good point swartnp7 – However I’m not sure the Pirates are ready to throw in the towel yet and rebuild or half rebuild. But I agree there with you. If Cole is traded then 100% yes you start the process.
Time to rebuild move Machado and Jones as soon as possible. Get some pitching! Free agent pitchers don’t want to go to that band box.
I think they could trade him for something pretty minor, maybe have to pay down some of what they’d owe him if they were to cut him.
A big market team with space under the tax could trade for hin for the upside he would offer if he came back strong, beat the market now get him for next to nothing. Then could offer him a qo (again if he comes back strong.) Cubs could be one, Astros though they’re cheap, Rangers, Angels if they don’t sign anyone else major, etc.
Get something for Machado while the getting is good!
The Padres will probably be receiving more calls on Hand now. This is going to make things interesting.
He’s super cheap money wise, has a few seasons of team control and he’s really good. I can’t inagine what he would fetch in a trade
The O’s could just release him with 30 days pay. Bizarre turn of events, but possible, especially if his rehab could take longer
Britton’s injury only magnifies the O’s situation, though Duquette will undoubtedly shrug it off as nbd when interviewed. While Brach can move into the closer’s position, somebody has to take on Brach’s former role. BAL still needs to acquire 2 or 3 SPs for their 2018 rotation, and to date they’ve signed no one. Trading Machado now should become the highest priority as the return should help BAL address immediate needs. With Machado gone O’s can simply sign either Moustakas or Frazier for 3B. Doing nothing in the wake of Britton’s injury is not the answer.
100% agree with you Solaris
What does this mean re: arbitration? Does the injury factor into the arbitrator’s decision (and can the Orioles still factor it into their arbitration offer – I think that’s not until January?) Or will the arbitrator ignore this.
I mean, they can easily argue he won’t pitch a day in 2018, and if he does it’s at most half a season – so $2MM or $3MM is reasonable, versus the $12MM or so he would’ve been expected to get. Does that happen/work?
The nail in the coffin falls. This is really bad for the O’s and Britton all around. What weird luck this Winter. Everything about this Winter is fishy to me. From the Oh sweepstakes, to Straton and Macho to everything in between.
This is a major injury and maybe a career injury. It will def effect is arbitration, and depending on how the surgery goes his market next year. He may never be the same.
Wish him luck but I think Britton days as an elite closer are done. He could still play MLB maybe but not as he did that is for sure. If the O’s were smart now they get the best offer for Macho, stop playing around, and call it a year and start from the bottom like Miami. Just my 2 cents.
Isn’t jones a FA after 2018 too ? He should be flipped as well
If that isn’t a sign for the Orioles to rebuild I don’t know what is.
Another way of looking at it. I wonder if the Orioles would be better off trading machado in July.
Yes i know it would only be a half seasons worth of machado and the number of prospects they could get would be diminished however machado is a game breaker that plays everyday and could easily be the difference between a W.S. win and not making it at all. Having said that………..I would gamble that if he stays healthy and with it being his walk year machado is going to rake all season. If he does then perhaps some of the other guys around him have good years as well, thus making them better trade pieces and in the long run the Orioles can get more back. Plus if another team like the Dodgers or Yankees sustain any significant injuries they could be desperate and want machado bad. If thats the case then DD needs to completely tear it down and start over. Which unfortunately is what the Orioles have been doing way to much of over the years.
he should be back in June
If the projected recovery time is 4-6 months, and if today is Dec 20, how is the “best case scenario” that he will return over the summer? Even if that 4-6 month estimate is for him to begin throwing, he’s a reliever it won’t take him two months to build up his arm. Sounds like best case scenario is more like April or May.
This doesn’t even take into account the psychological timeframe of trusting your achilles again.
If he tries to compensate for the throwing power that comes from his legs with his arm and shoulder, it’s just going to cause more injuries.
I agree. It looks like April. Then you sill hear the standard B. S. Like “he is ahead of schedule”
Yeah, trade Schwarber or him….yeah….idiots
I feel bad for him. Feel bad for Orioles fans. But I don’t feel bad at all for their FO & owner. He should have already been traded to another team.