April 22, 2018

Orioles pitcher Zach Britton suffers Achilles injury

22 December 2017, 12:59 | Kristopher Drake

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 17 2017 Bronx NY USA Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Zach Britton pitches during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Britton's name was bandied about in trade rumors prior to this injury, so it's possible these two have a bit more leverage in talks now.

Most immediately, the replacement at closer for the Orioles to start the season comes to mind and it'll likely be something like previous year with righty Brad Brach as the top option and side-winding righty Darren O'Day as a fallback candidate. The Rays have an even better trade chip than they did before.

"It was after throwing, I was just doing my regular running", Britton said Wednesday. Yeah, that would be a tough way to kind of go out with the team. As soon as I have the surgery and rehab, I can get back to pitching like I can pitch.

However, while Section 9 of the Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement states that teams can release players in the offseason and be responsible for only 30 days pay, they can do so only if the player has shown the "failure to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability". If the Orioles did have the depth to withstand a significant injury, it was in their deep, late-inning bullpen arsenal.

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One of the most-dominating relievers in the game, Britton suffered through an injury-plagued 2017 campaign.

The Orioles likely will turn to Brad Brach and Mychal Givens in the later innings. With Britton also a year from free agency, it would make sense that he would end up being flipped for prospects, helping the Orioles inevitable rebuilding process. Britton's estimated recovery time is six months. Moments after reports would surface suggesting they wouldn't be fielding anymore offers on Manny Machado, this news broke.

There's never a good time to tear your Achilles, but Zach Britton's timing might've been the worst.

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