After a lot of deadline rumors, the Astros strikeout on a deal for O’s closer Britton.
There was a lot of speculation surrounded Houston Astros until 4 PM ET. Astros fans were on pins and needles through it all. After all the deadline rumors, the Astros don’t make a deal for Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton.
Britton has had 19 appearances this year with a 3.32 ERA. in an injury plagued season that included a DL trip with inflammation to his left forearm earlier this month. Britton’s injury history seems to be one of the many reasons why the trade didn’t happen.
Why the trade didn’t happen
Britton was a dominant closer for Baltimore in 2016. The O’s closer had ERA of 0.54 to go with 74 strikeouts over 67 innings pitched. He has an amazing sinker that goes low in the zone to get a lot of groundouts. Baltimore wanted top prospects for Britton. They also didn’t trade any big players on the roster. It would have cost Houston some top prospects to get Britton.
To land the closer, Houston had to be willing to trade Francis Martes or Kyle Tucker according to reports. The Astros are sticking to their plan of winning now and in the future. Houston has no guarantee how Britton will pitch the stretch.
The boss said no?
Were all the rumors false that the Astros were after Britton? While no names were really used, both Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane address not making a splash at the trade deadline. In a pregame interview, Luhnow mentioned that there were a few trades that were 90% done. However, there are so many obstacles to get over to get a deal done.
Crane was on the TV broadcast last night and said that sometimes deals get agreed upon by the general managers. However, when they are sent to the owners for approval, the owner says no. We don’t know the exact situation, but they could have had a deal in place that was vetoed close to the deadline. Luhnow did not have time to turn around for another deal.
Crane echoed this today on ESPN 97.5 FM broadcast. Said players were agreed to, physicals were exchanged, but was vetoed by the owner. Whether it was health concerns, high asking price, or ownership veto, the Astros did not make that big splash. The Yankees and Cubs added multiple pieces, while the Dodgers added a big piece in Yu Darvish. We will need to wait to reflect on this move until after the postseason.
What will the Astros bullpen do now?
Ken Giles is still the man in the bullpen. The 3.11 ERA he’s boasted along with 22 saves evidently gives the Astros enough confidence to go to him come October. Lance McCullers returns to the 10-day DL with back issues.
This move means Brad Peacock is moving back into the starting rotation. Peacock definitely has earned it with his 2.62 ERA, but the problem is this leaves an already struggling bullpen in a tougher position. Will Harris lasted two days before returning to the DL. Tony Sipp season has not been anywhere near the level he’s been known for. Some Astros fans not to be happy about a quiet trade deadline.
Houston hopes Francisco Liriano can be the type of small move big results the team is looking for. Liriano will add a veteran presence for the playoffs. The playoffs are a long way away. Right now Liriano brings much-needed reinforcement to the Houston bullpen.
**Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference**