Zack Britton Announces Retirement
Zack Britton, a name synonymous with success in the eyes of Baltimore Orioles fans, has decided to hang up the cleats. At the age of 35, Britton officially announced his retirement from Major League Baseball in an interview with The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli this week, with the primary motivation behind this decision being his desire to spend more quality time with his wife and four children.
The California native enjoyed a 12-year career in the Majors, splitting his time between the Orioles and the New York Yankees from 2011 to 2022.
Originally drafted as a 3rd round pick by Baltimore in 2006, Britton began his MLB journey as a starter initially. However, his first three seasons (2011-2013) as a starter were shaky, boasting an 18-17 record, a 4.77 ERA, a 1.516 WHIP and a 5.9 strikeouts-per-nine rate. Following the 2013 season, the decision was made to transition Britton to the bullpen, a move that would ultimately define his career.
From 2014 to 2017, Britton emerged as a premier closer for the Orioles, contributing to the team’s postseason appearances in 2014 and 2016, compared to his previous role as a starter.
In 246.1 combined innings over that span, Britton delivered a 1.61 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, an 8.9 strikeouts-per-nine rate and 135 saves in 145 opportunities. While many remember the game he didn’t pitch in 2016 Wild Card game, Britton’s absolute best was in 2016. He set a new ERA record with a mind-boggling 0.54 ERA and went a perfect 47-for-47 in save chances.
It not only made him an All-Star, but he finished 11th in MVP voting and 4th in Cy Young voting. Britton also claimed the AL Reliever of The Year Award for 2016.
In 2018, Britton was traded to the Yankees at the trade deadline. No longer his prime, however, he continued to have good numbers as a setup man until injuries affected his final seasons. Fans will remember Britton as one of the most dominant closers of the 2010s.
His power sinker proved to be virtually untouchable on his best days and his dominance in the black and orange undoubtedly solidified his place as one of the greatest in team history.
As one of the premier closers of his era, Zack Britton’s impact on the game cannot be overstated. Being a future inductee into the Orioles Hall of Fame, Britton, 35, leaves behind a career he can be immensely proud of.
While he hasn’t ruled out a potential return to baseball in some capacity, a heartfelt salute to Zack Britton for his outstanding career and for his decision to prioritize family. I wish for continued success in his post-playing days. No doubt one of the greatest lefties baseball had to offer.
Fun Fact: Zack Britton is part Dominican on his mother’s side.
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