For this stretch of a few hours, it appears that the Philadelphia Phillies could finish runner-up to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. Who knows where we’ll be in a few hours. Regardless of what happens with Machado, it appears that general manager Matt Klentak and Phillies brass are prepared to make a serious run at another Baltimore Orioles star.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, with or without Machado, the Phillies are expected to make a serious push for two-time All-Star closer Zach Britton:
Whatever happens with manny (and dodgers lead), phillies are expected to pick up talks regarding Zach Britton. Big market there: cubs, yankees, red sox, maybe astros, indians, dodgers, others.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 17, 2018
NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Jim Salisbury reported this past week that the Phillies had discussed Britton, 30, with the Orioles. Salisbury tweeted last Friday that he thought that the Phillies had interest in attempting to land both Machado and Britton in a megadeal. However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported this past weekend that the Orioles would prefer to move the two separately.
In any event, Britton would give the Phillies a proven ninth inning option, making it easier for manager Gabe Kapler to employ rookie phenom Seranthony Dominguez in whatever the highest-leverage situation in the game would be. It would also, on paper, give the Phillies bullpen, much-maligned at times in the season’s first-half, a chance to be one of the league’s better units after the All-Star Break. The Phillies got Pat Neshek and Edubray Ramos back just prior to the All-Star Break. Luis Garcia shouldn’t be far behind. If you add Britton to the group that already includes the aforementioned Dominguez, the Phillies bullpen would look pretty formidable.
After tearing his Achilles this past offseason, Britton didn’t appear in a game until June. While two outliers in June caused his ERA to spike to 6.23, Britton has been excellent thus far in July. In six appearances, Britton has three saves, a 0.00 ERA and has allowed just three hits. While the velocity on his sinker has seen some slight regression, it’s still coming in at an average of 94.5 miles-per-hour.
Like Machado, Britton is eligible for free-agency at the conclusion of the 2018 season. Also like Machado, if acquired, the Phillies presumably would hope to retain Britton past the 2018 season.
ESPN‘s Buster Olney reported last weekend that the Phillies view New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia as another potential option as they looked to upgrade their bullpen.