Zach Britton has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be out four to six months. The injury removes one of the game’s best closers until at least mid-way into the 2018 season.
The Orioles need to determine the extent of 29-year-old lefty’s injury and decide how much they’ll pay of his arbitration salary. They’ve already extended him a contract, so they are on the hook for part of it. They could release him before the 16th day of spring training and pay him only one-sixth of his salary. Likely, they’ll wait until then to decide if they keep or cut him.
If drafting now, it’d be tough to allocate any resources on a pitcher who may not even be with a team this upcoming season. Maybe draft Britton late and hope to stash him on the DL until he returns. Most fantasy owners should have a clearer picture of the situation before they draft.
Brad Brach, who posted a 3.18 ERA with 18 saves in 2017, will almost certainly be the Orioles’ closer to start the season. The 31-year-old righty filled in for Britton when he was out last season. Additionally, he backed up Britton after the closer returned from the DL. As for Brach’s backup, Darren O’Day (11.3 K/9 with a 3.43 ERA last year) will again have the eighth-inning role.
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