April 24, 2018

Orioles All-Star closer Zach Britton suffers ruptured Achilles

22 December 2017, 12:59 | Donald Newman

Roch Kubatko Verified account @masnRoch

Roch Kubatko

As the holidays approach, the shape of the 2018 Baltimore Orioles is far harder to predict than it was just two weeks ago.

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Zach Britton ruptured his Achilles in a workout on Tuesday, and he is expected to miss at least six months.

Baltimore executive vice-president of baseball operations Dan Duquette on Wednesday confirmed the torn Achilles tendon.

Orioles fans had likely prepared themselves for Machado's departure and hoped that he'd fetch an arm or two to bolster the starting staff that now begins and ends with right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

We've already seen lots of the top relievers in free agency fly off the board, but Wade Davis and Greg Holland remain as the top-flight closer options and Addison Reed could be seen in this light as well.

Fans hoped that once Machado was dealt, the direction of the club for 2018 and beyond would become clearer.

The news about Britton is about the worst thing possible for the Orioles.

As Rosenthal notes, there has been a lot of trade interest surrounding Britton, but the Orioles are nearly certainly going to have to keep the 29-year-old reliever now.

The left-hander, who turns 30 on Friday, is arbitration eligible after making $11.4 million United States last season. Whether he'd have enough time to establish that market would depend on how quickly he returned and how well he pitched over what would be no more than six weeks.

Britton's injury is an easier one for the Orioles to deal with than Machado's situation.

The Orioles likely will turn to Brad Brach and Mychal Givens in the later innings. Due to a strained left elbow, the Orioles placed Britton on the 60-day disabled list on May 5.

Britton's absence could allow veteran left-hander Josh Edgin, recently signed to a minor league contract, to make the club.

Instead, Britton will be coming off two injury-plagued seasons. At the end of the 2013 season, Britton was moved to the bullpen permanently.

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