Dodgers: Zach Britton Would Make LA Undoubted World Series Favorites

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12: Zach Britton
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12: Zach Britton /

At 61-29, the Dodgers own the best record in baseball, and one can make an argument that they are better than the Houston Astros. There’s a move LA can make that would make them the undoubted best team in baseball.

The Dodgers do not have any glaring weaknesses at the moment. They have the best team ERA in baseball, good defense, and an elite offense that can finally hit left-handed pitching. So, everything is going right, and it is hard to be happier as a fan or a member of the organization at this moment in time.

Well, there is one thing, and that is a blockbuster trade for an elite player to further bolster a loaded squad. And this time, that name is Zach Britton, closer from the Baltimore Orioles.

The Dodgers have had an interest in left-handed relievers such as Brad Hand and Justin Wilson, and while those are great in their own right, Britton is on another level. He is the same guy who gave up seven runs (four earned runs) in 67 innings last season and did not blow a single save opportunity. Yes, you read that right, four earned runs in 67 innings, which equates to a 0.54 ERA. He also finished fourth in Cy Young voting and 11th in MVP voting.

This year he has been limited to just 12 innings due to injury but has allowed just three runs.

According to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers are interested in the relief ace, and it’s something that has Kenley Jansen excited just thinking about it.

"Man, that would be awesome. You just gave me goosebumps. Golly, you got me going right now. We have a special team and a special bullpen. The guys never quit. Andrew (Friedman, the team’s baseball president) and the guys do a great job."

It’s not hard to see why. When healthy, Britton is a top-5 reliever and was the best last season next to Andrew Miller and Jansen. And his dominant season wasn’t a fluke. He had a 1.65 ERA in 2014 and a 1.92 ERA in 2015. Last season’s 1.94 FIP suggests that his dominance was legitimate.

Another reason as to why his greatness is sustainable is because of the type of contact he allows. Britton uses his sinkerball pretty much all the time and will mix in a curveball and slider now and then. This allows him to keep the ball on the ground and limit the hard hits.

Last year he had an absurd 80% groundball rate (44% is about average). Couple that with a hard-hit percentage below 15% and you have a great formula of being extremely successful. To put that into perspective, Jasen has a hard-hit rate of just over 21% this year which is really great, and we know the type of season he is having.

Pairing these two together would make for the best 8th/9th inning combo in recent memory, and possibly ever. 2016’s best closer and 2017’s best closer on the same team? Last year they both combined for a 1.19 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, and 11.8 K/9.

Britton would also be more than just a situational lefty. Dave Roberts could call on him to come into any jam at any time and go for three to four outs, and he would provide Los Angeles with that legit setup man they have been missing for years.

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The acquisition would also allow for Pedro Baez, who is having a phenomenal season in his own right, being moved to the 7th inning. Like the Kansan City Royals in 2014 and 2015, the game would be six innings long because the three-headed monster of Baez, Britton, and Jansen would more than likely hold any lead.

If there is a chink in the Dodgers’ armor, it would be the bullpen. They still have the 2nd best bullpen ERA in baseball, but have shown signs of vulnerability as of late, especially with Luis Avilan’s production and Grant Dayton’s health. These two are supposed to be the left-handed specialist but haven’t been all too dependable. Throw in Josh Fields’ regression, Chris Hatcher’s Dodger tenure, and the extreme importance of a good bullpen come October, an upgrade is needed.

Getting Britton would also hurt the Washington Nationals, owners of the worst bullpen in baseball. It would take another elite reliever off the market and would make them settle for someone lesser.

The Dodgers would have to build a package around Willie Calhoun and/or Yadier Alvarez. As long as they don’t give up Alex Verdugo and Walker Buehler, they should pull the trigger.

Imagine a Game One of Clayton Kershaw, Zach Britton, and Kenley Jansen. And follow up Game Two with Alex Wood, Pedro Baez (if Wood goes six), Britton, and Jansen. Lights out.

Next: Mashing Lefties

Houston and LA are the class of MLB and are on each other’s heels. LA is the favorite to win it all right now, and Zach Britton would push Los Angeles even further ahead for the time being.