Orioles' executive vice president Dan Duquette talks about several moves the Orioles made before the trade deadline including picking up pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and shortstop Tim Beckham. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)
After all the rumors came to rest late Monday afternoon and Zach Britton still remained an Oriole, the team's closer gladly put the entire experience behind him.
The day's non-waiver trade deadline passed without the Orioles moving Britton, a trade chip who could have netted the organization players for the future. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said that he received many calls interested in his bullpen arms, including Britton, but there wasn't an offer he felt was worth Britton's value.
Britton then showed that value first hand, throwing for the third straight day for the first time this season and tossing a scoreless ninth inning in Monday's series opener against the Kansas City Royals. He eventually earned the win after Craig Gentry's walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.
Once the 4 p.m. deadline passed, Britton said he could finally feel free of the rumors that swirled around him for weeks and concentrate on pitching.
"No necessarily on the mound, but just before the game started, just being in the clubhouse, the focus was just solely on helping the team win and not having to get texts from family members or my agent saying this or that is going on," Britton said. "It was just kind of normal, how it should be, just focusing on this team win.
"Just tried to treat it like a normal day," Britton added. "Understood there was stuff flying around but I've been around long enough to know that stuff doesn't always happen just because someone says it might. So I just took it in stride."
The Orioles definitely did their best to showcase Britton leading up to the deadline, hoping the get a deal in the realm of what Yankees netted when they traded Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Britton earned saves on back-to-back days this weekend in Texas, the first time he pitched on consecutive days since returning from the DL.
Britton retired the Royals in order on 17 pitches Monday, overcoming a fluke play that allowed the first batter his faced, Melky Cabrera, reach when Manny Machado’s throw to first went through first baseman Chris Davis’ mitt.
But three pitches later, Britton erased that baserunner by inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Eric Hosmer. He then struck out Salvador Perez on six pitches, getting him to swing through a sinker on the final pitch of the night.
"Three days in a row, haven't done that all year," Britton said. "I actually felt better today than I did yesterday, just like the second day in Texas, I felt better than the first. Sometimes just getting back out there your body gets in sync and that's what I needed.
"I felt kind of out whack pitching every other day or every three days so getting back out there in an environment where we have the lead or tie game, helped me get my focus. I've been feeling really good the last few."