It is the time of year for trade rumors, talk and speculation. Orioles closer Zach Britton’s name has come up a few times in the last few days in that regard. He hears that talk and can easily see speculation via social media, but tries not to let it distract him or keep him from returning to top form since he came back off the DL for the second time.
He’s been an Oriole a long time and doesn’t seek to go anywhere else.
“I’ve been here since I was 18,” Britton said this afternoon. “I’m not in any rush to go anywhere, but it’s not my decision. Being a reliever, a lot of things are different the way guys move around. If it happens, I’ll take it in stride, but like I said, I’ve been here since 18. I don’t know any other place, other than this organization.
“My mindset hasn’t changed no matter where we are as an organization. We are going to acquire guys or sell guys, it doesn’t affect me either way. I need to go out there and do what I do to help this team win as long as I’m here.”
Britton said no one from the front office has approached him with any news or to address any rumors.
“No, I don’t expect that,” he said. “I don’t expect them to. They don’t have to. I’m under contract here. If they choose to trade me then that is what happens. Until then I’m focused on helping the team win here.”
But it has to be a bit of a distraction for any player.
“I understand the play on the field is the most important thing,” he said. “There are a lot of things now with social media that get out there that are not necessarily true, but you go with it. You don’t get sucked into it and you focus on pitching well. Because a lot times it can affect what you do on the field if you get wrapped up in it. So, I’m going to avoid it until something happens or doesn’t happen. But right now I’m just focused on getting my innings in and getting back to the form I want to be at.”
Britton is 0-0 with an ERA of 1.93 and five saves in five chances over 13 games and 14 innings. A year ago he went 47-for-47 in save chances, posted an ERA of 0.54 and finished fourth in the AL Cy Young vote. He has converted 54 straight saves since late in the 2015 season.
He is not getting many save chances these days with the Orioles struggling so badly at 42-49.
“This is the toughest situation I’ve been in, other than 2011 my first year and we struggled as a team. But we didn’t have the expectations like we do now. Yeah, it’s been a grind. We expect a lot better of ourselves. The only thing we can do is start today and try to play the baseball we are capable of. The standings are where they are at this point - you have to be realistic of where we are. But it doesn’t mean we can’t get on a nice stretch and win some ballgames,” Britton added.