Ex-Elite Closer Retires After 12 Year Career

He was a two-time All-Star, having led the league in saves one season, and compiling a total of 154 of them over his 12-year career. Now, approaching the age of 36, Zack Britton has officially retired. 

Britton was the top closer in baseball in 2016, recording 47 saves for the Baltimore Orioles with an absolutely ridiculous 0.54 ERA. He finished 4th in Cy Young balloting. Over a a seven-year stretch from 2014 through 2020, the left-hander was utterly dominant, posting a 1.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 347:133 K/BB ratio over 367.1 innings.

He spent his first 7½ seasons with the O's, before moving to the New York Yankees, where he toiled for the last 4½ years of his career. His last two seasons (2021, 2022) were marked by injuries. 

He missed the first two months of the 2021 season due to surgery for a bone chip in his elbow, then underwent Tommy John surgery that September. 2022 was pretty much a lost year, as he pitched only three innings with the Yankees, and then was not able to find a job this past year. 

“It might not have been perfect from a career standpoint or going out on a high note, but you don’t always get to pick,” Britton said. “I played a lot longer than I thought. A lot of it is luck, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of talented guys who don’t get to play for 12 years. So I’m very grateful for that. It was the journey, honestly, that was special. I was never great at being good at two things and now it’s time to be all-in on my family.”

We wish Britton the best in his retirement. 

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports