Brach’s status on trade market tied to Britton

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Orioles are receiving the anticipated level of interest in reliever Brad Brach, which is significant as he approaches his free agent season.

Teams view Brach as a cheaper alternative to left-hander Zach Britton in terms of the asking price in any trade. He has closing experience in the majors and especially the minors, where he notched 119 saves, and can work in a setup role.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette is willing to remove one of his bullpen pieces despite running the risk of hurting the unit’s depth with the rotation such a concern. However, from what I’ve gleaned, the Orioles must determine Britton’s status before pulling the trigger on a deal involving Brach.

sidebar-Brach-white.jpgBrach would be the leading candidate to close if Britton is traded. Mychal Givens could take over the role in 2019 with Brach able to leave via free agency.

Keeping Britton would allow the club to more strongly consider a trade involving Brach, who is projected by to receive $5.2 million in arbitration after going 4-5 with a 3.18 ERA and 18 saves in 67 appearances. He was 10-4 with a 2.05 ERA over 71 games in 2016 while making his first All-Star team.

As usual, lots of moving parts for the Orioles.

Agent Scott Boras told the media earlier today that Monday’s meeting with Duquette led him to believe that Britton was staying. However, I’m hearing that they’re still exploring trade possibilities.

Getting maximum value for Britton is hindered, I’m told, by certain clubs being uncomfortable with his projected $12.2 million contract and health status. Britton has been cleared for a normal offseason of workouts after receiving a stem-cell injection in his left knee in September. He’s been throwing without any discomfort, including in his left forearm/elbow area, and figures to be full-go in spring training.

Spread the word. This guy is fine physically.

Givens is off the table in any trade talks, one of the few untouchables on the team. But his name keeps coming up in calls and meetings.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are paying close attention to the players dealt by the Cardinals today for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna. St. Louis is a serious suitor for third baseman Manny Machado and remains in contention if the right prospects stay in the organization.

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