Cubs Could Be Falling Behind on Zach Britton, Turning to Brad Brach Instead? (UPDATE)

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Cubs Could Be Falling Behind on Zach Britton, Turning to Brad Brach Instead? (UPDATE)

Chicago Cubs

There was a time not so long ago that Brad Brach would have been a far more attractive trade target than Zach Britton is right now. Of course, interestingly, that time was around the same time that Britton, himself, was looking far more attractive, too. They’ve both kinda fallen off a bit the last couple years.

Indeed, you may not know much about how good Brach was, because he was merely the setup man for Britton when Britton was one of the best relievers on the planet, gobbling up all that spotlight. But, seriously, Brach was really good, and he could be a fallback trade target for the Cubs if they miss out on Britton, a source told Patrick Mooney of The Athletic:

Brach, 32, put up a 2.05 ERA over 79.0 innings in 2016, all with excellent peripherals. Since then, he has trailed off a bit, and is down this year: 4.97 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 21.1% K rate, 10.0% BB rate. That said, he still doesn’t give up home runs, and he’s been pitching in front of one of the worst defense in baseball. Dude’s sporting a ridiculous .367 BABIP despite seeing only a small rise in his hard contact this year and a HUGE spike in his soft contact. Something doesn’t quite make sense there. He might just be a good change of scenery guy.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Brach is making much less than Britton this year ($5.17 million versus $12 million), so you have to keep in mind that he’ll be an attractive target for other teams, too, as he could more easily fit under the luxury tax cap for a team like the Dodgers. Like Britton, Brach is a free agent after this season.

It’s possible this back-up-option reporting coming up right now is not a coincidence, because this report came out at the same time:

Keep in mind, if the Cubs are the most interested team out there in Brach (we don’t know), the Orioles would have an extra incentive to deal Britton to another team, even if the offers were close, knowing they could maximize their total return by then shipping Brach to the Cubs.

The cost on Brach, obviously, would be much lower than Britton, for what that’s worth. And keep in mind, the Cubs could still be looking to do a combo deal:

A Bundy/Brach or Gausman/Brach deal would certainly address the Cubs’ needs, while providing short-term and medium-term upside, and the cost might not be too wild.

Stay very tuned.

UPDATE: Oh, and to be very sure, it’s not like the Cubs are out on Britton just yet:

No one is out! Everybody in!

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.