ORLANDO — The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are two of the teams that have spoken to the Baltimore Orioles about star closer Zach Britton, sources tell FanRag Sports. It is believed that a couple other teams also have checked in on Britton, one of the game’s best closers.
The Orioles are said to be willing to at least listen on Britton since they need to reallocate monies for the rotation, he’s expected to get upwards of $13 million via arbitration after making $11.4 million last year — high for a small-to-medium market like Baltimore — and he’s a free agent after the year.
The Dodgers were one of the prime players for Britton last summer, but ultimately they traded for two lefty relievers instead — Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson. The Orioles had a tentative agreement with the Astros at the July 31 deadline, but Baltimore pulled out of it, either due to the medicals of players coming from Houston or owner Peter Angelos’ cold feet — or both. Angelos remains a wild card who could ultimately decide he doesn’t want to trade Britton, but it makes sense to shop him now, at the very least.
The Cubs are in need of a closer with Wade Davis a free agent, and last year were happy to take Davis on a one-year deal in a trade with Kansas City, a deal that worked out nicely for Chicago. Greg Holland is the other star free agent closer on the market, which is deep in bullpen arms but not star closers, meaning Britton could bring a decent haul.
The Orioles’ tentative deal last year would have netted them Colin Moran and others from Houston. Ultimately, the Astros chose to bolster their rotation by making their big trade for Justin Verlander, and that worked out even better for them.
The Dodgers have superstar closer Kenley Jansen, but he’s a team player who told FanRag in the summer he’d welcome a trade for Britton. A couple other teams are believed to be in the mix for Britton, though not Houston this time.
Britton finished last year with a 2.89 ERA and 15 saves, solid but a comedown from the all-time great season he posted the year before, when he had 47 saves in 47 opportunities to go with a 0.54 ERA.