Tap-In Question: Would you trade Britton and Brach this month? Both, not one or the other - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Would you trade Britton and Brach this month? Both, not one or the other

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I’ve been at the Tap Room all night and morning waiting for you. I’m trying to dry out – not from imbibing, but from sweating at Camden Yards.

You may not have noticed, but it gets humid in Baltimore in July.

This is probably where I should say the trade market is heating up for the Orioles, too. I’m not so sure that’s the case, though.

The Orioles will take their time as the next week-plus plays out before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

I don’t think two wins against Texas, to put the Orioles at 44-49, gives any false hope that this team is about to rattle off a bunch of victories and get right back into the AL Wild Card race.

This team still looks to be a seller at the deadline.

The real question is what does that “seller” tab mean?

Trading outfielder Seth Smith and maybe catcher Welington Castillo – if you can get someone willing to gamble on that $7 million player option next year — doesn’t turn around this farm system and put you in a position for success in the near future.

They might land the Orioles complementary pieces, but nothing that really moves the needle.


To do that, the Orioles have to deal away major pieces to get legitimate prospects back. And there are only four Orioles that fit into that category and are not under long-time team control: relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, third baseman Manny Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

I don’t believe the Orioles will deal the 25-year-old Machado, the club’s best player who is a free agent after 2018, or the 25-year-old Schoop, a free agent after 2019, this summer.

If I’m right, that leaves Brach, 31, and Britton, 29, as the main trade chips this month. Reliever Darren O’Day is 34, has dealt with injuries and has $20-plus million left on his contract. Teams certainly would take him, but if they are absorbing even part of that salary, the return won’t be particularly enticing. It would look more like a salary dump than a talent bump for the future.

National baseball writer Ken Rosenthal reported Tuesday that club owner Peter Angelos has given executive vice president Dan Duquette the green light to shop his top relievers (and Smith, obviously).

But getting the green light and actually approving the final deal are different things. It will all depend on what the offers are – and whether they can really improve this team soon – that will ultimately make the difference for Angelos and company.

Those offers haven’t been made. We won’t know the value for a while.

So, it’s difficult to say exactly whether the Orioles will deal Brach or Britton. It obviously will depend on the package offered in return.

But here’s my question: Would you trade them both this month?

Would you be OK putting the responsibilities of the back-end of the bullpen in Mychal Givens’ and O’Day’s hands and let both Britton and Brach go?

Obviously, if this season is basically done, closing games isn’t a major priority. But they both could be here next year under team control, so you’re weakening your bullpen in 2018, too.

So, would you do it? If the offers were right – and I’m assuming separate deals, no team has that kind of prospect depth – would you move them both now?

Tap-In Question: Would you trade Britton and Brach – not one or the other – this month?



  1. mike3764

    July 19, 2017 at 7:07 am

    I would be open to trading everyone except Jones, Schoop, Givens, Mancini, and Davis (only because no one will take that contract anyway). They would get maximum value for Britton and Machado NOW. Not next year when we are in a similar spot. If they trade Britton and Machado now, our “haul” will be better since they have about a year and a half left on their contracts. Next year, the return for Machado will be much less. Let’s face it…it would be GREAT to keep both of them in the organization but we all know that we will never pay them market value. Especially not with Davis’ contract hanging around the organization’s neck.

    We also must face two other facts: our minor league system has only a handful of players that may make it to the majors and we will never pay for a starting pitcher like a David Price or Chris Sale. So the only way to get a potential number 1 or 2 starter is to trade for them as young pitchers in someone else’s system for Machado and Britton.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Nice post Mike. This is a comment for everyone so far. This is why I love what this forum has become. Rational, level-headed responses from everyone (yes, even Boog). Try to find that elsewhere. In any sports forum. Forget drink chips. Fake round on me.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 19, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Absolutely not. Keep them both. I’ve been crying that the season is lost for over a month now, but being the fickle fan that I am, last night’s game as renewed whatever sliver of optimism remained. Heck … why can’t the O’s start playing good ball? They’re not out of it. It’s not as if it’s out of the realm of possibility that Tillman, Gaus & Bundy figure things out of the next 2 months is it? Undeniably, these guys DO have talent after all. Shucks … even Ubaldo has shown how resilient he can be.

    So even IF this season is lost, I don’t feel that the window for this team’s chances at a world series is over after this year. Add a pitcher … maybe two for next year, and the sky is the limit with this bunch. It’s a good solid team, with a nucleus the likes we haven’t seen since the 90s or even further back. Jones, Manny, Schoop, Davis, Mancini and some minor league help on the way in the form of Sisco, Mountcastle & Hays …. maybe even a pitcher or 2 …. and it’s not a bad place to be in. Hang on to Brach and Britton and let the chips fall where they may for another year.

    Go O’s!!

    • Bancells Moustache

      July 19, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Last night provided the fool’s gold, Boogster. Yes, they beat a middle of the pack Rangers team. They also just got their asses whipped by the reigning champs. This leads me back to my previous hypothesis: Yes, they can be in the running for the wild card game, and we can all pretend watching a team spray beer all over themselves because they made it into an extra game is reason to rejoice. They are NOT a championship contender, and that is why they should sell. You can keep the Wild Card nonsense. I want the banner, and thats all.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

        I know what you’re saying ‘Stache, but then on the other hand … explain away how 6 world series champions have come from the wild card ranks?

        Like I said, I’m fickle. Most definitely a what have they done for me lately type. But sweep the ‘Stros this weekend and watch the lemmings fall in line behind me .. Hah!

        • Bancells Moustache

          July 19, 2017 at 10:56 am

          Of those 6 WC teams that won it all, the 2004 Red Sox were a 98 win team, the second best record in the AL, the 03 Marlins were a 91 win team, 3rd best in the NL, the 02 Angels were at 99 2d best in the AL, and the 97 Marlins were at 92 which was also the second best record in the NL. The two Wild Card teams who’ve won it all who were genuinely the 4th and 5th best team in their League were the 11 Cardinals, a perennial powerhouse at that time who had a slow start. Ditto the 14 Giants, playing for their third title in 5 years and riding a pitcher (Bumgarner) who was imbued with the power of Odin and Zeus that fall. My point is that there is a big difference between a WC team who is the second best team in the land who doesn’t top out their division, and a team that sneaks in because they need one more team to fill out the TV schedule

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            July 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

            OK …. I admit … that was a good explanation.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:42 am

      I tend to agree with Stache. Tho I don’t think a playoff appearance is meaningless. It is tough to do. It’s an accomplishment. And once there anything can happen. That said, without better starting pitching it’s just never gonna be a legit World Series contender.

      • Bancells Moustache

        July 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        A first playoff appearance, yes. Wheel out the plastic locker covers with the Budweiser logos on them. But if you are backing into the 2d WC spot after 5 year run with the best record in the AL, having previously been a 96 win team with an ALCS appearance, I’m sorry but that’s not an accomplishment, that’s a challenge to reach the next level. Eye of the beholder I suppose. When you say the 16 Orioles made the playoffs for the 3rd time in 5 years (true), it sounds impressive. When you say the Orioles came in 5th place in the American League in ’16 (Also true), its not quite as sexy is it?

    • OsFan21

      July 24, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      I agree with Boog, although I think hope is lost for this season. We don’t need a TOTAL rebuild in my opinion. You guys are forgetting that for a good month and a half, we were the best team in baseball during a span of time that included 2 series with the yankees and three with boston, both great teams. When our starting pitching works, we win. Mainly because we have relievers like Brach and Britton. If we give them up, what do we have left? I say trade Castillo, trade Smith, but keep Brach and Britton because without them we’re hopeless.

  3. general81

    July 19, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Another strong trade-related column, Dan! Yes, I would trade Brach and Britton. I was (and still am) hoping the Nationals will call – I would trade B&B for Robles, Fedde, and a package of other minor leaguers and perhaps an established player. Perhaps Doolittle or Madson … ? Here’s the thing – If you trade one, you may as well trade the other and completely re-build the bullpen. Getting 6-8 players back will go a long way in doing that.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Thanks General. I’m with ya on might as well 2. But I just don’t see Nats thing happening. I’d be shocked.

  4. Osfan73

    July 19, 2017 at 8:26 am

    As much as it pains me, I say yes deal them. With this rotation we’re not getting back into anything this season. Here’s why you do the deals IMO…
    1. Extremely thin in the minors especially at starting pitching, this would be a good chance to address that without tearing the whole team apart.
    2. Trade Machado, much as I like him we will never, never be able to afford him long term especially not with the Davis contract. May as well see what he can bring and there’s still more than enough offense left in the lineup.
    3. Keep Schoop for next year for obvious reasons but somehow I think he’ll be a touch cheaper to sign longterm and you’re still keeping some top talent aboard. In my mind the only huge difference in him and Manny exists at the plate in that Manny has more power potential, but we have that already.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Manny is a better defender too. But otherwise I’m with ya on these points.

  5. Winger

    July 19, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I would trade both. However if somebody wants Britton they have to take Ubaldo. I would even do the same with Manny. He’s gone let’s get something for him. If clubs want the gain (Britton & Manny) enjoy the pain with Ubaldo.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

      You make em take Ubaldo you lessen what you get back. But I get your hope for some salve.

  6. karks

    July 19, 2017 at 8:43 am

    If the return is worthy, then I’d have to say yes – trade them both. The sad truth is that this team is going to be in rotation hell next year again unless they are able to bring in some arms from outside the organization. It’s not a guarantee that whomever they get for Brach/Britton will be good enough to join the 2018 rotation, but we at least need some prospects who can develop into reliable major league arms.

    What goes along with the trade(s) is that they free up some money, plus what they save when the trio of starters leave after this year. Maybe that buys a decent starter or two.

    As much as I love both guys, they may be our best hope of strengthening the prospect pool without trading Manny.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Rotation hell. I like it. Are they currently in rotation purgatory?

  7. Cheddar

    July 19, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I would be open to dealing: Britton, Brach, O’Day, Castillo, Smith, and Davis. Here is the precursor on Machado, are you willing to hand out a 250M+ deal over 7-8 years? He’s going to command at least that on the open market. If not then you get the most value by dealing him now with over a war of club control still. Britton unfortunately would be my top choice for trade candidacy. He would net us a solid return and he will command way more than the Orioles can afford to pay a reliever. This team isn’t making the playoffs, their starting pitching is terrible and just won’t cut it. I would say Jones is a candidate but I think he wouldn’t bet a huge return and he’s a solid role model for up and coming youth.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:49 am

      I would say Manny gets more on open market. And Jones is 10-5, so he can veto trades now.

  8. brooks.pryor

    July 19, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I would hate to see them go, but Britton will be wanting huge money and I don’t like all that cash tied up in a reliever when we need to pay Jones, Schoop, Manny etc. Plus the market is ripe for playoff teams that need shutdown guys like the Nats and Dodgers. Brach has proven himself a capable closer and would also probably bring in a good return from a needy club. Givens is cheaper option and would be interesting to see what he does in a closer role.

  9. Creatively_19

    July 19, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I would trade Brach first before Britton. Frankly, the O’s should do everything they can to keep the home-grown arm around on the club. Will he be expensive? Yes, but he’s also irreplaceable. Brach at times has been human, but Britton has been amazing for 3 seasons, and that cannot be easily replaced if you want to go for it in 2018. He’s still tradable in 2018 if things don’t go well next season, but as I’ve said before, if you trade both of them you’re pretty much giving up on next season too, in my opinion.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Britton brings in the bigger return tho. If you are trading just one that has to be a consideration I’d think.

      • Creatively_19

        July 19, 2017 at 11:07 am

        I get that Britton brings the best return, but in order to win in the future, we need elite pitching, not just in the rotation but in the bullpen too. I don’t want the O’s to look back in 10 years and seeing Britton going to the World Series with another club. He’s a homegrown guy and should stay here. I know I’m being sentimental but he’s a guy you need on your team. The O’s can dump some salary this off-season and sign better pitchers, but guys like Britton don’t come around often. The Yankees had Mariano Rivera, the Orioles could have Britton – He’s worth it.

  10. Raymo

    July 19, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Yes I’d be willing to trade both, as well as Manny, Castillo and Smith, but only if we get a wealth of highly regarded potential in return. After that it’s up to our system to develop that potential.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

      And that’s the $164 million question.

  11. Bancells Moustache

    July 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Sell one or the other, and Machado as well. I wouldn’t sell both, because I don’t see this a full on rebuild. Everyone has been hyping that they are somehow still in Wild Card contention. Well, they’ve managed to do that without Britton and getting Mendoza-line performance from Machado up until a few weeks ago. I’m sorry, but I don’t see how losing them means DD is “blowing it up”. You make the right move and you could even end up BETTER than you were in the first half, whereas gutting the bullpen of its two big guns is definitely an outright surrender. This is punting the ball, not giving up and kneeling on it.

    I also take the “Machado is off limits” talk with a grain of salt, as it may just be a ruse to drive up the price. Say what you will about Peter Angelos and his involvement with the team. When it comes to the art of negotiating and bargaining, few people in the entire country, nevermind a bunch of baseball executives, can match his acumen and expertise. This is a guy who made himself into a very rich man with his ability to drive through settlements and arbitration.

    • Osfan73

      July 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      In a courtroom or a board room he is. As owner of a major north american sports franchise???? I have my reservations about him. He interjects himself in trade discussions, he’s the reason we don’t do the international signing bonuses thus one of many reasons we lack credible pitching prospects and fires his managers after they win manager of the year. I thought that was Buck’s death knell when he won it. He’s like the Jerry Jones of MLB. Good at dollars and cents, no baseball sense.

  12. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 19, 2017 at 10:36 am

    BTW … I see that EVERYBODY disagrees with me , but do y’all really think you’re going to get a Moncada or Robles for Britton or Brach? And as shallow as starting pitching staffs are these day … who’s going to give up any sure fire minor league hurlers for either of these guys? Manny maybe … but Britton or Brach? Really? I don’t see it happening.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Well Boog, look what Yanks got for Chapman and Miller. Or Padres for Kimbrel. They’d fetch a haul.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

        As good as Brach and Britton are …. they’re not exactly Chapman or Miller. Well maybe Britton is …. but Brach? And let’s not forget … Britton may even be damaged goods at this point.

        • Creatively_19

          July 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

          Britton looks like his old self. Caleb Joseph wasn’t helping him out much at 3rd last night. Brach is good, lets see what we can get for him first before dealing Britton. That way teams will know what they have to beat first. If you sell Britton first, the offers for Brach will be significantly less.

        • Bancells Moustache

          July 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm

          I agree with Boog when it comes to Brach, I don’t see him fetching the kind of haul you would want. He did fairly well in the closer role this year, but it was nothing spectacular. To put it another way, Britton last year meant I could get up and get ready for bed in the 9th inning because the game was over. The 3 to 4 batters getting sat down was just a formality. When Brach comes in, I’m still on the couch with my palms sweating

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      In comparison to what Britton has done, I get you. But in comparison to what many big league teams deal with in the ninth, Brach is a stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon.

  13. T

    July 19, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Yes to Britton, Brach, and O’Day. Sad but give Buck some good prospects and 2018 free agents to look forward to. Hoping he’ll sign on for another 3-4 years to build a young team.

    I know it’s heartbreaking to think about losing Manny but we all know how that’s going to end. If keeping Manny until the end helps keep Buck in the fold that might be worth it. Enjoy him while he’s in B’more.

    Meanwhile, a lineup including Jones, Schoop, Davis, Trumbo, Manchini should really be ok to score some runs in The Yard, don’t you think?

    Bundy seems to have turned the corner – good for him. Givens might be able to take over closing. Who knows, Gaussman might be better in the pen.

    Any way it goes, we need starting pitching.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

      It’s all about pitching. Not just here, but everywhere.

  14. IndyOriole

    July 19, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Trade Brach only out of those two but also O’Day if you can just because saving nearly $10MM a year isn’t bad. Retool next year with the estimated $30-40MM lower starting payroll than 2017. Try to sign a FA starter or two. Maybe like a Lance Lynn and/or Alex Cobb. One big push for a playoff run in 2018. Extend Manny and Zach and Adam at a lower rate while you’re at it. The money should be there.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I’m not sure the money will ever be there for Machado. It’s a whole lotta money. Like potentially almost twice the current payroll or almost twice the franchise record deal. He is going to command top dollar. Given his youth and ability and the baseball market, he’s earned that status.

      • IndyOriole

        July 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

        The team payroll has risen quite substantially in the last couple of years (currently in the low $160MM’s) and assuming it is in the budget to stick around at that level I do think the money is there for Manny. Annually it seems reasonable to expect him to be paid in the vicinity of $30MM per year. It would overlap with Davis’ albatross contract for 4 years. Trumbo’s contract will be done in 2019. The key to fitting his contract in and expect playoff run results would be maximizing the performance from the young guys (Mancini, Hays, Sisco, Mountcastle, Mullins, Akin, Harvey, etc.) while they are cheap, at the same time.

        • mlbbirdfan

          July 20, 2017 at 2:57 pm

          No baseball player is worth $30 Million for one year. And, multiple years: NO way. Unless you can guarantee me a World Series win.; no baseball player is worth $30 million for one year.

  15. Mustang21

    July 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I would trade both. We need to rebuild a barren farm system. I don’t think trading Machado right now would be our best move. Boston and maybe St. Louis could use a third baseman. I think we would get a better haul in the offseason. Trade Smith, Castillo, and see if someone will take Ubaldo for some old tires.

    • Dan Connolly

      July 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Just for the record. Manny to Boston would be one of the craziest storylines in baseball in the last decade.

  16. T

    July 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Good point. He’s a human highlight reel! Someone will pay. And good for Manny. But that’s a lot of eggs in one basket (with two repaired knees). At some point, it’s worth more to spend that on 4-5 other guys with potential IMHO. It’s fun to watch good rookies break in…

  17. OriolesFan1986

    July 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Both. I also add Machado, Gausman, along with the usual Smith, Castillo, and Kim. It’s foolish not to listen on Machado especially given the recent injury to Carlos Correa in Houston and who have one of the best farm systems in baseball. You saw the returns on Andrew Miller, Chapman, just recently David Robertson/Kahlne. Brach still should be able to bring back a B+/B- prospect, I would’ve really liked to seen them acquired speedy outfielder, Mallex Smith, from Atlanta when he was available. I think Smith could’ve offered the Orioles a true center fielder with good range, speed, and even the ability to get on-base well and would allow them to move Jones to right field.

    Many teams still believe in Gausman and I think this year is an aberration, I would listen on him if the right deal comes along but I want to pencil him for the 2018 rotation . Though one of my big concerns if Orioles development of young pitching. I really think there need to be an organizational review on Orioles pitching development in the minors and why so much goes wrong in evaluating our pitchers or developing them(Arrieta, Davies, Hader, Eduardo Rodriguez, et cetera). Castillo, Smith, and Kim won’t bring large returns but it might allow us to see what Sisco can do, I really don’t see what is left for Sisco at Norfolk. Let Joseph and Sisco hold down the fort for the rest of the year. Kim hardly plays so they might as well get something for him.

  18. woody

    July 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    The key question that needs to be answered is ‘can what needs to be done to make this team a contender in 2018 be done ‘.

    That means 2 or more quality starters to sit alongside Gaussman, Bundy and perhaps a new shortstop rental. I think with those in place, and keeping our key guys fit, would be worth a shot. But can we afford it? Will the owner do it?

    If the answer is no, then we head into 2018 with a no better team than 2017, with many of our stars entering free agency. This would be a reckless move for the ball club to make and no doubt we’d have to suffer a decade of really poor chances of winning. So if we can’t afford to spend, we have to sell – and if we are selling then we have an opportunity for an aggressive rebuild by also selling off Machado whilst his stock is high. To rebuild well you have to sell anyone and everyone you can get a good deal on and take being a 100 loss team on the chin for a couple of seasons and then come back strong when all your prospects are maturing. I don’t like it, but the alternative is losing every year anyway with no light at the end of the tunnel.

  19. mlbbirdfan

    July 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Yes. Trade both. I could name 5+ SP prospects I’d like for either one: Brent Honeywell; Jose DeLeon; Erick Fedde; Lucas Giolito; Frances Martes; Anderson Espinosa; maybe Alex Reyes, and others. Pitching wins championships. Also Have to solidify the defense!

  20. garyintheloo

    July 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Temporarily Gary in DC for family business but I would trade Britton, Brach or O’Day for solid offers to boost the rotation and outfield defense. Mac hado would be a winter deal if we don’t sign him. I would trade with anybody for solid upgrades in those areas. BTW, the Yanks made the better deal today.

  21. Churchton

    July 19, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Both but definitely brach before Britton

  22. Ben1

    July 19, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    depends on DD plan for Machado. Me? I think Brach is expendable but don’t kbkw enough on Britton’s health progbosis.

  23. John in Cincy

    July 21, 2017 at 2:57 am

    The Orioles are still in the race, so why weaken their strongest asset by trading either of them?


    July 21, 2017 at 10:20 am

    This is not a “yes or no” question. Let’s be honest. The way the Orioles are currently constructed, they are not going to win the World Series. Our best chance was the 2014 season and we fell short because Machado, Wieters and Davis were unavailable for the post-season. Trying to win the ALCS from Kansas City was very difficult with a lineup that included Flaherty, Pearce and Joseph. The offense sputtered.
    We should be open to trading Britton or Brach or O’Day if we get an appropriate package. I think we need to get two starting pitchers and an outfielder for Britton. After seeing what the Marlins got for David Phelps, I think that is appropriate.
    That being said, I don’t think there are too many teams with the kind of prospects that we need. I know there is no pitcher who is a guaranteed star but we need to find one in the other teams’ minor league systems.
    I think we are also going to need a shortstop. J.J. Hardy has been terrific for the last seven seasons but he isn’t the same hitter he used to be.
    The Orioles may be in the race but why sacrifice a chance to improve our future for another one-game Wild Card appearance?
    The Orioles have been criticized for not being aggressive buyers in recent years. But those deadline deals don’t always work out. Getting Andrew Miller was a great move three years ago but picking up guys like De Aza and Parra made very little impact.

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