Orioles' Britton out 4 months with ruptured Achilles

by Olga Hunt December 22, 2017, 0:59
Orioles' Britton out 4 months with ruptured Achilles

His exact timetable will be mapped out after he undergoes surgery, but he's looking at at least four to six months before he can return, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Speaking with Britton on Wednesday as he was still trying to wrap his head around the injury and its ramifications, he sounded like a player prepared to be released.

Britton led the league with 47 saves in 2016 but was slowed by injuries last season and was limited to just 38 games.

"It's probably the most frustrating thing I've experienced", the reliever said.

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Without Britton, they could use another left-hander besides Richard Bleier and Donnie Hart, who had a challenging 2017. He was one of the top closers in baseball over the previous three seasons, registering at least 35 saves per year from 2014 to 2016 and putting up a 1.38 ERA in that span.

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. He's expected to earn $12 million in salary arbitration this year. The Orioles are well aware of this and are now fielding trade offers for the young superstar.

But injuries slowed him a year ago. Those two premium talents alone could bring in packages that give Baltimore a massive head start towards rebuilding the franchise. Britton had been one of the club's biggest trade chips - along with third baseman Manny Machado - that could help set the Orioles' future up beyond the 2018 season, when Machado, Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Brach are all eligible for free agency. Regardless, the injury to Zach Britton just delivered another body blow to an already downtrodden Orioles fanbase.

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