It happened Tuesday while the 29-year-old was working out in California, and he's expected to be out at least six months. That is, of course, assuming that the achilles injury fully heals and that Britton is in shape to return. He battled forearm issues through much of the season and it seemed to drastically affect his control. In fact, Britton was the best closer in baseball in 2016, finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting after going 47 for 47 in saves with a 0.54 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. He was limited to just 38 games, registering just 15 saves while posting a 2.89 ERA and a 1.527 WHIP.
Britton, like teammate Manny Machado, is due to become a free agent after the 2019 season, and has been floated around in trade rumors throughout the offseason.
Now, he could get a $12 million contract and not be able to pitch for the team in the first half of the season. The Orioles are well aware of this and are now fielding trade offers for the young superstar.
After surgery, Britton said he will likely be in a boot for four weeks before he can begin rehabbing his Achilles, but because he's a pitcher, the recovery would take less time than if he were a position player, who would need to run more, or a basketball or football player, who would need to cut and jump regularly and add more pressure on the foot. However, Britton's injury now prevents him from being traded, and it also means that Brad Brach will have to, in all likelihood, assume the closer role in Baltimore. With rumors already swirling about a potential Manny Machado trade, which could start an all-out rebuild for the organization, this puts the Orioles in a very hard position. Those two premium talents alone could bring in packages that give Baltimore a massive head start towards rebuilding the franchise. Hopefully for all involved Britton can return at the 6-month mark, as originally prognosticated, and show a glimpse of his 2016 standout performance.
This offseason, it was expected that the Orioles would revisit a potential deal for Britton. Regardless, the injury to Zach Britton just delivered another body blow to an already downtrodden Orioles fanbase.