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Astros, Yanks, Cubs trying to acquire Britton

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter was quick to praise closer Zach Britton on Monday afternoon. Showalter then added a disclaimer that he wasn't pumping up the lefty to help his trade value.

"He doesn't need it," Showalter said.

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BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter was quick to praise closer Zach Britton on Monday afternoon. Showalter then added a disclaimer that he wasn't pumping up the lefty to help his trade value.

"He doesn't need it," Showalter said.

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Britton, who has the interest of more than a half dozen teams, certainly does not. The market for the lefty intensified last week, and it's unlikely he will be with the Orioles by the end of the week. Baltimore, which traded superstar Manny Machado in a deal that netted them five prospects, will get a front row seat for one of Britton's suitors this week as the Red Sox come to town.

"I think he's going to have a real solid rest of the season, whatever that entertains," Showalter said. "I talked to him some yesterday before the game, just kind of get a feel. He's got a lot of people telling him exactly what's going on and they're all different. This has been going on for a while, so I think he's handling [the trade rumors] well."

As things stand on Monday night, Boston is not a frontrunner to land Britton. Multiple sources told MLB.com that the Astros and Cubs remain the most aggressive clubs for the lefty's services, though the situation is fluid. And the Yankees' interest -- which first arose on Monday night -- is also legit, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com as New York tries to close the gap on Boston.

Britton, who is owed more than $4 million and will be a free agent at season's end, was nearly traded to Houston last summer. While the O's aren't opposed to trading within the division, like they did in 2014 by acquiring reliever Andrew Miller from Boston, they'd prefer not to.

The O's believe they can get an upper-tier prospect for Britton, particularly as his market has hit a crescendo. After starting the season on the disabled list due to offseason Achilles surgery, he's turned in eight scoreless outings entering Monday and is back in the upper 90s with sinker after a slow start coming off the disabled list on June 11.

Rumors travel fast. Keep tabs on all the latest Britton chatter.

In 16 games this season, he's converted four of five save opportunities while posting a 3.45 ERA.

Time is of the essence in moving Britton, as teams like Milwaukee, which is are also interested, could fall out of the race over the next few week and change its stance in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Drafted by the O's in the third round of the 2006 Draft, the 30-year-old has spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors. He was an All-Star in 2016, going a perfect 47-for-47 in save opportunities.

Showalter, who hasn't used Britton the past two games, has the difficult task now of juggling using the lefty to win games and safeguarding a key trade chip that could help shorten the organization's rebuild.

"How I use Zach, I mean ... let's not insult your intelligence. We all know what's going on here," Showalter said. "But if somebody hasn't been watching these last seven to 10 outings, there's not a whole lot that's going to happen between now and the end of the month that's going to change anything."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Zach Britton