The Los Angeles Dodgers need a new setup man after Brandon Morrow signed with the Chicago Cub. Look no further than Orioles closer Zach Britton.
Some things in baseball are just too special to pass up. This offseason, we have already had two of such cases. First, MLB teams got the opportunity to lure in the Japanese Babe Ruth himself, Shohei Ohtani. Then, reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton was inevitably going to be traded. The NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers had a great shot at both.
Yet nothing happened. The Dodgers did not land either. Ohtani decided to go to the Orange County alongside Mike Trout and the Angels. Stanton, well, it took the Yankees just one day to jump on a deal after learning they were contenders. Some see the light in this lack of moves, but for the most part, the Dodgers failed to capitalize on something special.
Luckily for Andrew Friedman and company, they have one more shot at making something special. This does not involve a hefty contract, or some insane demands to juggle both an ace and slugger in one player. This is straight-forward, it is simple and it is more than doable.
This, of course, is the Dodgers potential acquisition of Orioles closer Zach Britton. Adding Britton in Los Angeles would create arguably the most unhittable bullpen we have ever seen.
While Britton was on the receiving end of injuries this season, he was nothing short of masterful in 2016. Britton was a perfect 47 of 47 on save opportunities with a whopping 0.54 ERA. 2017 was not quite the same, but once he got into a rhythm he coasted to a 2.89 ERA.
The Dodgers have the opportunity to create something extremely special in Britton and current closer Kenley Jansen. Although they are both closers, Jansen would keep the role. Britton, however, would act as an eighth-inning bridge to Jansen.
This would be insane, it would be unhittable. All the Dodgers need is to win seven innings of baseball and in the eighth and ninth they can seal the deal. In the playoffs, Britton would act as that rally stopper that the Dodgers could not find in the World Series. Put Britton in Kenta Maeda’s spot in game five against Jose Altuve and the entire series could have been different.
With one more year of control, it makes sense for the Orioles to trade Britton, especially since the franchise is not moving in the positive direction. The previous speculation around Britton signals this may be the case. The trade package for Britton is simple, it is easy and if the opportunity arises should not be ignored.
The biggest piece here for the Orioles would be right-handed pitcher Yadier Alvarez. Alvarez has electric stuff that has led to his inclusion as the third-best prospect on the Dodgers. However, this stuff has not translated how the Dodgers would have liked to professional play. Before his stock is too low, the Dodgers can include him in this deal.
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Heredia and Brito are both nice pieces with some good upside. Both of which rank within the Dodgers top 30 and can be big league time in the next two seasons. As for Ryu, he adds an experienced arm to go into the thin starting rotation for this season.
Again, with only one year of control over Britton, the Orioles are not going to get a top-level prospect out of him. However, after last season, it may be best for the Orioles to get what they can when they can. Britton is likely going to walk after this season anyway, so why keep him around on a budding team?
Los Angeles then gets their guy and adds to an already great bullpen. That bridge to Kenley Jansen is the last thing missing with Brandon Morrow not gone. Britton provides that and more for the Dodgers.
Overall, I would like the Dodgers to go out and get Britton. There are no luxury cap issues or salary problems. This is simply a deal that makes far too much sense for the Dodgers. Hopefully, they do not get complacent.