Former All-Star closer Zack Britton is hosting a workout for six interested clubs today, tweets Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are one of the six teams in attendance. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic adds that the Angels, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs and Rangers were also in attendance. The Angels, in particular, have been linked to Britton in recent weeks. Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, meanwhile, writes that the Tigers have had interest in Britton, though it doesn’t seem they attended today’s showcase.
It’s the second time the 35-year-old Britton has thrown for teams this offseason, though the first was more of a leaguewide showcase. That took place back in mid-January, and it stands to reason that today’s workout will offer his most interested suitors a chance to get another look at him as he gears up for a potential signing. That Britton would offer multiple showcases to interested teams isn’t necessarily a surprise, given that he pitched just two-thirds of an inning in 2022 and only 18 1/3 frames in 2021.
Once one of the game’s elite relievers, Britton has seen his star fade in his mid-30s as injuries have begun to take their toll. The lefty had his elbow scoped in March 2021, which cost him the first two months of that season. He returned in June but quickly went down with a hamstring strain that sidelined him another few weeks. The return from that balky hamstring proved similarly short-lived, as an elbow strain again sent him to the injured list.
In Sept. 2021, Britton underwent surgery to address that second elbow issue. The hope was that, like the arthroscopic procedure in March, removing some bone spurs would alleviate the issue. Instead, surgeons determined that Britton’s ulnar collateral ligament had suffered enough damage that a Tommy John surgery was required. He missed almost all of the 2022 season but did make an improbable late-September return. However, that amounted to just three games, during which time Britton walked six of nine batters faced before going back to the injured list yet again. He averaged 92.8 mph on his fastball in that time — nowhere close to the 94.9 mph he averaged during his last healthy season in 2020 (and even further from the 96.9 mph on his sinker at its peak).
That peak, of course, was one for the ages. From 2014-20, Britton notched a superhuman 1.84 ERA in 367 1/3 frames. He punched out 24% of his opponents against a 9.2% walk rate in that time, and Britton’s 76.2% ground-ball rate over that period cemented him as the best ground-ball pitcher since 2002, when batted-ball data of that nature began being carefully tracked. Britton posted a laughable 80% ground-ball rate in 2016 and was at 79.1% in 2015 and 77.2% in 2019 — the three highest single-season marks ever posted by a qualified pitcher.
Whether he can get back to that form in his mid-30s is an open question. Given his diminished velocity and recent elbow woes, it seems like a long shot. But, given that Britton isn’t likely to command more than an incentive-laden deal with a low base salary, there’s plenty of sense in taking a low-cost risk, given the obvious talent and track record of dominance.
I think the Showalter connection could lead him to the Mets if they like what they see.
If he goes to the Mets then Ubaldo Jimenez will have to come out of retirement and sign with the Mets too. Showalter needs them both in his pen
He needs neither in his pen if he wants to win. Britton is washed up. But this is a definite Billy Bob Eppler type deal. And that fool will probably pay him more than Chafin got from Arizona.
They’d also need to bring back Armando Benitez to allow for Met-Os-zord to form.
Britton to the Royals and they seek the Crown.
“God save the Queen!”
deGrom Texas Ranger
“God save the prom queen”
The good thing with a profile like his is that he just spams out sinkers and they don’t need to be upper or even mid-90s to be effective. If he’s healthy he could very well be one of the better RPs in the league, particularly on a team with great defense.
How much is his velo down? He had that bowling ball sinker at 97-98 back in the day, I haven’t heard where he is now.
It mentioned what it was in the article, at least what it was in September when he came back. What it is at this moment, at the workout, it doesn’t say.
Rangers have no bullpen, so I hope they’re in on any reliever with a pulse.
I bet Cashman would consider resigning him, but not for 16 million a year this time. It would be much much less which would be more appealing.
There is a mutual appreciation between both sides, but the Yankees weren’t in attendance and they seem to live in fear of the Cohen tax line.
As a matter of fact I heard Cashman wasn’t in Tampa because he couldn’t leave his house due to Cohenphobia. Every time he tries to leave he starts getting dizzy, sweating profusely, and the walls feel like they’re closing in on him.
If only we could figure out how to give him SP-trade phobia.
Still has great movement on his pitches but big control issues. He could show great control today and have it disappear the next. Wouldn’t give him a whole lot but he could be a decent addition to any of those teams.
Working as what, batting practice coach?
Like Jace Fry, he posted terrible numbers but he’s a lefty which is why anyone would be interested in him.
The guy is just so unreliable in every aspect… even when he’s healthy, which is rare, he has nothing. A soft tossing lefty with very shaky control is going to get hammered. Even if I’m running a non-competitive team and could sign him for league minimum, I’m looking elsewhere for my #2 lefty reliever.
It may not be what it was, but 92 mph is not “soft tossing.”
League average fastball was 93.9 last season. 92 is a meatball.
This one belongs to the Reds
Interesting that the Reds with serious bullpen issues were not.
Am I surprised? No.
Would a well run team with bullpen needs have checked him out? I would certainly hope so.
Not a fan of the guy actually, but making a point.
The only reason the Reds would even consider Britton would be if they believed they could trade him at the deadline
This one belongs to the Reds
They need bullpen help to bridge the gap from the young starters to Diaz. They should have addressed long ago and now two guys coming off injuries won’t be ready.
Shocking I know.
Meanwhile we’ll need a lot of blown leads again and the kids’ confidence goes down the toilet.
Not like we haven’t seen this before.
You seem unaware that the Reds do not have a Billionaire owner, and are in one of the smallest markets. Payroll will always be a factor. Learn to live with it.
This one belongs to the Reds
I have lived with it for more years than you can count since the revenue disparity got ridiculous. I point that out quite often as the reason baseball is dying in small markets, not that the large markets care as long as they have their advantage.
We should not have to live with it, there should be a level playing field like other sports that are now more popular. Imagine that.
Still, the Reds have spent 130 million max some years, so it is obvious they can add some, which was the original point.
If I were Jed and Carter, I think I would see how Elias pitches for team Cuba in the WBC and Borucki and Kay do in ST before I just signed anybody else. They are the 3 LH P’s they have already that interest me the most. Not to mention they have about 6 other LH’s already signed on Iowa’s roster. One has gotta hit gold at some point.
A left handed ground ball pitcher with Rengifo at short…. What could possibly go wrong?
That said, I hope the Angels do sing him. He doesn’t have any more question marks than anyone else in that pen.
Fletcher will see much more time at SS than Rengifo
RSox. I literally pray you are right.
Angels & NL West
Halo, you said Adell would be fine defensively if the Angels played him at one position, not LF and RF. Is it possible, Rengifo will be better defensively if he doesn’t play LF, RF, 2B, 3B and SS? Im not taking a side here, but in the interest of fair play, it seems an argument could be made that Rengifo may settle down if allowed to play one position.
I love fair play. I really hope that’s your motivation.
The last four months of the year Adell was fine defensively. Plus one defensive runs saved. And according to statcast,, which measures the difficulties of plays, he made three of the four best plays by an Angel outfielder all year.
I don’t know what else to say about Adell’s defense. He has tools. If he does a better job of using his tools he’ll go from adequate to great.
Also, according to statcast, Rengifo was the worst defensive player on the Angels by far. I’m hoping that flips around, but after watching him, I don’t see the talent.
Hey whatever happened to TrumboJumbo? Any Angels fans know? Did he change his moniker or quit entirely? Always enjoyed his stuff.
Hope the Halos sign him for 1 or 2 years. Our closer spot is wide open at this point
The Padres weren’t there?
Yeah every player post usually starts with, The Padres and Mets are interested in…….Enter name here.
I remember when Pirates tried to include Britton in a few trades back in the day. Time flies and you forget about certain guys
I said Twins could have him!
Mariners could sign him to a minors deal send him to Tacoma and let the guys down there fix him up. Then we could trade him to the Yankees for one of their young studs. Volpe is one I think.
You know, you can start a sentence with the word “meanwhile.” Your colleague Anthony learned, why can’t you?
Meanwhile back at the Bat Cave …..
deGrom Texas Ranger
This man reportedly wanted 9 million a year. I hope they misreported it and he really just wants that over 2. Maybe, with incentives, it would be fine – 1 million baseball each year with 8 million in incentives.