It makes sense. It is a great business decision made by a businessman in Andy MacPhail who saw an opening to send Britton down while justifying it with reasons that sound rational to most people.
The logic behind the decision cannot be argued.
Most people who are against this move are going to say that it looks poor for the team to send someone down who is undoubtedly better than who will replace him strictly for monetary reasons. One can also make the case that the Orioles are sacrificing wins by sending him down and letting an inferior pitcher make one or two starts that Britton would be making.
However, hypothetically, if the Orioles were to trade Derrek Lee for a mid-level prospect at the deadline, they would be sacrificing wins. Lee gives the O’s a better chance to win than Brandon Snyder, Luke Scott, or whoever else they would put at 1B.
But it would also be the smart move. Unfortunately, for the 14th straight season, wins do not matter for the Baltimore Orioles in the present. Once that is established, and we are definitely past the point of hoping for any type of contention or playoff push in Baltimore this season, then the focus needs to switch from the present to the future.
Just as trading Derrek Lee would hurt the team in the present but have a chance to help the O’s in the future, sending down Zach Britton puts the O’s in a much better position in future years. And unlike Derrek Lee, Britton legitimately would be getting shut down in September if he were to stay up the whole time, so even though that is not anywhere close to the main reason behind his demotion, it is still a positive that he will now be able to pitch in September at the big league level.
This is what losing teams should do. Winning teams try to win, as the Birds did the first week of the season when they promoted Britton. Losing teams need to look ahead and put themselves in the best possible situation moving forward into a time when wins will hopefully matter again.
The Orioles made a move that they feel will help them in the future. They made a move that puts their future ahead of the present.
Quite frankly, they should have thought much more along those lines throughout these past 14 losing seasons.
The Orioles are a screwed up franchise in a tough spot yet again. There is no denying that.
But the decision to demote Zach Britton wasn’t a screwed up decision. It was actually quite smart.