Orioles continue rebuild with trade of Britton to Yankees for 3 pitchers - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles continue rebuild with trade of Britton to Yankees for 3 pitchers

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—Six days after the Orioles announced they were beginning to rebuild their team with the trade of Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they followed it by sending one of baseball’s best closers, Zach Britton, to the New York Yankees for three minor league pitchers.

Britton, who had been in the Orioles’ organization since 2006 — longer than any other player — and set an American League record with 60 consecutive converted saves in 2017, joins an already stacked Yankees bullpen.

New York sent right-handed pitchers Dillon Tate and Cody Carroll and left-hander Josh Rogers to the Orioles. Tate, who is considered the deal’s top get, goes to Double-A Bowie while Carroll, a reliever, and Rogers go to Triple-A Norfolk.

Britton learned of the trade reports during a rain delay in the Orioles’ 7-6 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. When the game resumed, Britton returned to the bullpen and watched the rest of the game with his teammates, but didn’t pitch.

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The trade became official at 11:45 p.m.

“Weird. Been here for 12 years, black and orange,” Britton said. “It’s been crazy. It’s been a great 12 years.”

Britton began his Orioles career as a starter in 2011, five years after he was drafted, but real success didn’t come until 2014, when he became a reliever.

He was an instant hit in the bullpen and when he became the team’s closer in May 2014, the team flourished. The Orioles handily won the American League East in 2014, and Britton had the first of three outstanding seasons, saving 37 games and pitching to a 1.65 ERA.

In 2016, Britton saved 47 games without a blown opportunity and had an ERA of 0.54. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting.

After missing much of the first half of 2017 because of a forearm injury, Britton tore his right Achilles’ tendon in December and underwent surgery. He didn’t appear in a game until June 12 and was 1-0 with a 3.45 ERA with four saves in 16 games.

“I was looking at the numbers today, and Zach, in July, looks like he’s back to his old self,” Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said.

“Personally, I love the kid…He’s going to a good organization. Of course, they really wanted him to bolster their run to the playoffs. They got a good one, and we really appreciate the work Zach did for us over the years.”

The Yankees already have Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and David Robertson in late-inning roles, and Britton will help make their bullpen even stronger.

“I know what the feeling’s like when you’re a winning ballclub and you get in that clubhouse, you can feel it,” Britton said. “Hopefully, I can step right in and do a good job.”

New York emerged as the winner in the Britton sweepstakes, beating out Houston, which pursued him in July 2017.

“The Yanks have good depth to their farm system,” Duquette said. “I think the depth of their farm system was attractive to us, and the fact that these pitchers are relatively close to the major leagues.

“We had some offers from some other clubs for some players with less experience that were younger players, and we just felt that this was a good fit for helping staff our teams here for the next couple years with a couple of potential starting pitchers and a reliever.”

After weeks of speculation, Britton is relieved to know his next destination, but it’s a bittersweet time.

“I’m definitely sad to be leaving,” Britton said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to win some games again, but it’s never going to be easy coming back here and playing against these guys especially.”

The Orioles will be in New York next Tuesday, the non-waiver trade deadline.

“Really weird. I’ve never played against these guys before,” Britton said.  “It’ll be weird to be wearing the Yankee uniform and competing with the Orioles.”

With Machado and Britton traded, the Orioles can turn their attention to Adam Jones and Brad Brach, who closed Tuesday’s win.

“I don’t know, it’s totally out of my control. If it happens it happens,” Brach said after the game.

Jones can veto any trade because he’s been in the major leagues for 10 years, and five with the Orioles.

“I don’t know if I’d say that Adam Jones is on the market,” Duquette said. “I did say the other day that once you start the rebuild, with the Manny trade, we basically said we’re setting off in a new direction, we’re going to rebuild our roster so we can be competitive with these super teams in the American League East.

“And we’re going to look at all the options. So, that means we have to look at all the options with the veteran players that are going to be free agents at the end of the year, and Adam is one of them.

“Adam has a no-trade, so anything that the club would be interested in doing we’d have to involve Adam, and we’re not at the point where we have a deal and we’re going to sit down and involve Adam in that. But the club will certainly look at all the options.”

Manager Buck Showalter addressed the media shortly before the deal became official.

“If and when it happens, somebody’s going to get a very special pitcher and special young man,” Showalter said.

Even though the trade had become official only a few minutes before, Britton was already thinking of the future.

“Hopefully, it’s not the last time I play here,” Britton said. “Hopefully, sometime down the road, I can come back here and maybe finish it out.”

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Mau

    July 25, 2018 at 2:35 am

    A win-win tonight. W vs Boston and 3 more prospects, solid prospects, from the Yankees. So far so good. Pickings get more slim after this, though.

  2. boss61

    July 25, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Trembley’s cavalry. Matusz, Hernandez, Bergesen, Berken, Britton, Tillman. Such hope we had about a decade ago. Britton and Tillman were the only two who made good on the promise they all once held.

    Now who is the longest-tenured draftee? Caleb Joseph?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 25, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Right you are, Boss!

  3. Borg

    July 25, 2018 at 6:41 am

    It is gratifying to see that the Orioles were more concerned with getting a good trade done than worrying that it was the Yankees they were trading with. The O’s are still years away from competing with NY so getting a solid foundation is more important than anything. Hopefully at least two of the players from each of the deals so far turn out to be major league players. Givens to Cleveland? Jones to a contender? The Yanks were supposedly interested in Gausman–for that deal they should pry out some really top notch minor leaguers right on the cusp of being ready. Now–please sign Schoop to an extension!!

  4. boss61

    July 25, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Rebuilding is rebuilding. I’d trade Schoop too, this week, unless an extension can be worked out pronto. His value never will be higher.

    • Borg

      July 25, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      If the Orioles think Schoop won’t be part of the rebuild, then they might as well go all in. Schoop should be worth four players. If they went that route, there isn’t any real reason not to see what the market would be for Bundy , Givens and Gausman. WIth the feeding frenzy that often accompanies trade deadlines approaching, they might be able to pick up a dozen players plus the 8 they already have. At least there is something to talk about the last week, other than another creative way to lose a game.

  5. deqalt

    July 25, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Orioles finally doing a nice job on trades. Of course hearing they have one of the smallest scout teams just drives me crazy. Regardless it’s time to trade Jones and Brach for sure. I don’t think you will get a top 150 prospect for either, but better than nothing. I think Orioles should trade Gausman for sure if you can get top 75 prospect in return otherwise hold him. Orioles haven’t even tried to sign Schoop. If that’s true you need to trade him too for a high package. Don’t wait!! Stop making the same mistakes and looking for different results.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 26, 2018 at 8:12 am

      I would be surprised if they traded Schoop and Gausman now, but I think they are happy enough with the returns they got in the other two deals that they’ll consider it.

  6. OsfansinWV

    July 25, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Thanks Zach for the good run in Birdland! Sad to see the O’s hit rock bottom and have to resort to the rebuild but I’m excited to see where we can be in 3 or 4 years! Fanfest will probably be a little weird this coming year with all the big names gone… Let’s Go O’s!!!

  7. Devereauxisunderit

    July 25, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Reading NYY sites like this one, it sounds like all three prospects the O’s landed have some solid upside. Seems like a pretty fantastic haul of pitchers for a 2 month rental, so congrats to DD. Of course it had to happen, but still- seeing Britton in pinstripes will be jarring. Glad to hear he wants to return at some point.

  8. 54orioles

    July 25, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Britton, the guy that was going to put the Os on step closer to the WS may finally get his chance. Good luck!

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 25, 2018 at 8:35 am

    You know, the O’s are doing the right thing with this rebuild and all, but somehow, it just doesn’t feel right.

    • 54orioles

      July 25, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Do you think it’s possible for the Os leadership to screw up this many prospects?

    • Creatively09

      July 25, 2018 at 9:33 am

      I will be excited to see Britton pitch in the postseason for the Yankees, but only if it’s mop up duty in the Wild Card game when the Yankees are on the losing side of a blowout. I wish him the best, but I won’t ever root for the Yankees.

  10. Orial

    July 25, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Solid trade. Keep the ball rolling. Done some thinking–maybe with all the new arms and the draft that Gausman could be expendable being that he could bring a decent haul. Boy do I worry that everything would click for him somewhere else. One final note–I’m not convinced that Britton is “his old self”,so a good time for the trade.

    • Steve Cockey

      July 25, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Keep going is right, Orial. I’m not at all convinced that the O’s will trade any of the non-rentals (Schoop, Givens, Gausman, Bundy). But these are the guys that can continue bringing back solid prospect hauls. Jones and Brach aren’t going to fetch much more than a fringe guy or two each. So I’m hoping that the O’s press forward by trading at least one of the controllable pieces. Schoop — a free agent after next season — is the one I’d be focused on moving.

  11. TheGreat8

    July 25, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Yanks beat writer on the fan this morning said they got a steal, that all 3 of these guys are prob rule-5ers coming up soon anyway. Any word from around baseball Rich? At least we’re getting a jump on the only part of the December winter meetings where we’re active…

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 25, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Well, Great8, many around Baseball were impressed that the Orioles were able to get as many prospects as they did in the two trades.

      The Yankees farm system is so stocked that they can’t protect all their best prospects, but if the Orioles think they’re good, why not take them now.

      If they were going to be Rule 5’s, the Orioles would be under those restrictions, and this way, they can freely option them.

      Three prospects for two-plus months of a terrific pitcher who was going to walk without compensation sounds good to me.

      As I wrote last week with Machado, check back in 2020 or 2021 for a progress report.

  12. Birdman

    July 25, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Machado and Britton trades are steps in the right direction. As stated by others, if the Orioles are committed to a true “rebuild”, now is the time to either sign Schoop to an extension or trade him. (My preference is an extension.) No one should be off-limits. If the right deal can be made, move Gausman, Givens, and even Bundy.

  13. OrioleMaze

    July 25, 2018 at 11:35 am

    With Manny and Zach gone have the salaries equaled what we’re paying CD?

  14. TxBirdFan

    July 25, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Yankees have a great bullpen and might not keep Zach for next year. O’s should seriously keep the light on for him

  15. mlbbirdfan

    July 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Thought about the dollars paid to Davis.
    We coulda signed Nick Markakis, Andrew Miller, AND Nelson Cruz for FOUR years each, for LESS than Davis got! Think about that sentence. It defines Orioles ownership. Why would we expect a “rebuild” to improve the Orioles. I see ten years of gloom.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 26, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Yes, those contracts could have been done, but after they left, the Orioles felt that they couldn’t afford to let another one get away. Fan reaction at the time of the signing was overwhelmingly positive.

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