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Would long-term deal with Britton be a good idea?

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Would long-term deal with Britton be a good idea?

Lately I’ve been busy spending other people’s money. With six key free agents and others looming in the coming years, it’s easy to do that.

I’ve suggested the Orioles preemptively extend Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. Doing that would be a great sign for the restive fan base.

Machado is entering his first year of arbitration, and Schoop is still a year away from that.

Then, there’s Zach Britton.

Britton earned nearly $3.2 million in 2015, and will make more, much more in 2016, his first season of arbitration eligibility.

Since becoming the Orioles closer in May 2014, Britton has converted 63 of 70 save opportunities. Since his move to the bullpen at the start of 2014, Britton has ERAs of 1.65 and 1.92 and allowed just seven home runs in 142 innings.

This season, Britton struck out nearly six times as many batters as he walked and was rewarded with an All-Star Game selection.

It’s almost hard to remember how Britton struggled with being a starter. In 2011, he won five of his first six starts before winning just one of his next 12.

Britton was demoted to Bowie in July after a brutal outing in Boston where he gave up eight runs in 2/3rds of an inning.

And when he came back up three weeks later, things got worse. Britton recorded just one out at Yankee Stadium as New York scored nine runs off him in a 12-run first.

While he ended 2011 with five wins in his last seven decisions and a team-high 11 wins, that was his high point as a starter.

Britton struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 2012 and 2013, manager Buck Showalter insisted at the end of 2013 that the left-hander was poised for big things.

He had no options remaining, and if the Orioles didn’t want him, another team would.

Britton began the year in the bullpen and after Tommy Hunter didn’t adapt to the closer’s role, the job was handed to Britton, and he performed brilliantly.

It will be interesting to see what the Orioles do this winter with Britton, who like Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters is represented by Scott Boras.

It’s probably unlikely that they’ll seek to lock him up for the long term even though he seems to be happy in Baltimore and has thrived under pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, both of whom will return next season.

The Orioles have another key reliever, Darren O’Day, who is a free agent, and they’d like to try and keep him.

Britton will command a formidable number in arbitration. MLBTraderumors.com has projected Britton earning $6.9 million, which as it stands now, would be the fourth highest on the club, behind only Adam Jones, Ubaldo Jimenez and J.J. Hardy.

That’s likely to be topped if the Orioles re-sign Chen, Davis, Wieters or Gerardo Parra or add a few players from outside the organization.

However, nearly $7 million is an enormous number for a reliever, and it’s hard to see the Orioles spending that much and more in a long-term deal—even for a closer as successful as Britton.

[RELATED: Chris Davis voted Most Valuable Oriole for second time]

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Orioles Roundup: Nunez impresses in loss to Yankees

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Orioles Roundup: Nunez impresses in loss to Yankees

The Orioles lost a nailbiter before falling to the Yankees 6-5 Thursday night.

Here is your latest news on Baltimore and New York:

Player Notes:

ORIOLES:

Dylan Bundy surrendered three runs in 5 2/3 innings Thursday in a no-decision against the Yankees. The bullpen was unable to manage after Bundy pitched a fair performance.

Renato Nunez went 2-for-3 and hit a three-run homer against the Yankees on Thursday. Nunez has improved mighily in year number two with the O's.

YANKEES:

Masahiro Tanaka held the Orioles to one run through six innings in his start Thursday.

Luke Voit homered and doubled Thursday as the Yankees slipped by the Orioles 6-5.

Injuries: 

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

Coming Up:

Friday 5/24: Orioles at Rockies, 8:40 p.m., Coors Field
Saturday 5/25: Orioles at Rockies, 9:10 p.m., Coors Field

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Orioles Roundup: O's acquire Keon Broxton from Mets

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Orioles Roundup: O's acquire Keon Broxton from Mets

The Orioles made a flurry of moves before falling to the Yankees 7-5 Wednesday night.

Here is your latest news on Baltimore and New York:

Player Notes:

ORIOLES:

Baltimore acquired OF Keon Broxton from the Mets for international signing bonus slots. Broxton hit .143 in 34 games with New York this season before he was designated for assignment last week. The Orioles designated RHP Yefry Rodriguez for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Broxton. 

The Orioles transferred RHP Alex Cobb from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL, meaning he won't be back until late June at the earliest. Cobb has been out since April 27 with a lumbar strain. Baltimore also claimed RHP Chandler Shepherd off waivers for the Cubs and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. 

YANKEES:

Giancarlo Stanton has been pulled away from his rehab assignment with High-A Tampa and placed back on the 10-day injured list with left calf tightness. Per manager Aaron Boone, Stanton will be shut down for the next 7-10 days. 

Boone also told reporters Zach Britton was unavailable for Wednesday's game against his former team, and CC Sabathia could miss his next start due to knee trouble. 

Injuries: 

SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-Day IL

SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-Day IL

DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL

Coming Up:

Thursday 5/23: Orioles vs. Yankees, 12:35 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Friday 5/24: Orioles at Rockies, 8:40 p.m., Coors Field
Saturday 5/25: Orioles at Rockies, 9:10 p.m., Coors Field