O's closer Zach Britton ruptures Achilles, out at least six months

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Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton has torn his right Achilles tendon in off-season training, a significant injury that could cause him to miss part of the 2018 major league season.

He was already prepared for a possible move.

After Machado, many would figure Britton to be Baltimore's biggest trade piece.

As for the Orioles-where does their offseason go from here?

For now, Britton - who will have surgery Thursday in Los Angeles - won't help the Orioles on the field or at the negotiating table with potential trade partners.

The 29-year-old pitcher ran into some injury issues last season and couldn't carry his elite performance into 2017.

Britton is in the previous year of his contract, and is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. Now, they face the prospect of releasing Britton, or hoping that he can perform well after his return from injury.

"It would be a kind of [terrible] way to end my time with the Orioles", Britton said of the prospect that he might have thrown his last pitch in the team's uniform. Now, this isn't something that's going to affect me long term. That's pretty vague, and an injury would fall under that language. With the way relief pitchers have been getting paid (Tommy Hunter just signed an $18 Million contract), Britton, even at 80% or so of his 2016 peak, would have been in line to make some $50 million or so somewhere in the league.

According to reports, Britton suffered the injury while working out Monday in California.

The Orioles likely will turn to Brad Brach and Mychal Givens in the later innings. Whether he'd have enough time to establish that market would depend on how quickly he returned and how well he pitched over what would be no more than six weeks. With rumors already swirling about a potential Manny Machado trade, which could start an all-out rebuild for the organization, this puts the Orioles in a very hard position.