Contenders lining up to trade for O's Britton

Cubs, Astros, Yankees, Red Sox reportedly among interested teams

July 20th, 2018

Brad Hand is with the Indians. is with the A's. And Zach Britton? Well, he's still with the Orioles, but perhaps not for much longer.
With many of MLB's top teams showing interest, Britton could be the next late-inning reliever to be dealt. In fact, a source told The Athletic (subscription required) that the Orioles would ideally like to conclude negotiations for the southpaw by the middle of this week.
Catch up on the latest Trade Talk
Britton, who is set to become a free agent after this season, has thrown eight straight scoreless innings, with six strikeouts and four walks in that span. The 30-year-old has shown a notable velocity increase lately as he gets back in a groove after missing the first 2 1/2 months while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
Here's the latest trade news surrounding the O's closer:
• According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman via Twitter, the field of teams pursuing Britton is "expanding," with the Astros, Cubs, Dodgers, Yankees, Braves, Rockies and Brewers among those in the mix. The Phillies and Red Sox have also been linked to Britton recently.

• Former MLB general manager Jim Bowden reports that the Astros are "all in" on Britton. Houston nearly acquired the southpaw at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last season, but Baltimore reportedly backed out of the deal due to medical concerns about some of the players it was receiving in return. Per Bowden, last year's situation will have "no impact" on the current discussions between the Astros and Orioles.

• Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com is hearing that the Astros, Red Sox and Cubs have been "more active" than the Dodgers in trade talks with the O's about Britton.

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• Per a tweet from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Dodgers and Braves aren't quite as "engaged" in Britton trade discussions as other teams, as Los Angeles has luxury tax concerns and Atlanta is hesitant to trade high-end prospects for a rental player.

In an earlier tweet, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal noted that the Dodgers will "almost certainly" need to purge salary to remain under the luxury-tax threshold if they trade for Britton, who is still owed more than $4.5 million this season.

• Sources tell The Athletic (subscription required) that the Cubs "remain deeply involved" in trade discussions for Britton. The club bolstered its bullpen with Thursday's trade for , but that move doesn't satisfy their need for a late-inning arm, especially after was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right biceps inflammation. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score has also named the Cubs as a "main player" for Britton.
While the Cubs' bullpen has performed well this season, manager Joe Maddon made it clear he's in favor of adding a reliever, per Levine's report.
"If you look at the numbers, our pitching is among the best," Maddon said. "We are always looking to make things stronger. That is what GMs do. We will see how the whole thing plays out. The bullpen is still very thick. It's not like there is a lack of confidence down there. But if I was running the team and you get in this position, you always try to make things a little better."

• According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Britton was included in the Phillies' trade discussions for Machado and the club "will stay on him" after narrowly missing out on the All-Star shortstop.
• The Orioles have been scouting the Red Sox's Double-A affiliate, and specifically third baseman Michael Chavis (Boston's No. 1 prospect, No. 63 overall, per MLB Pipeline), according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Chavis recently returned from an 80-game suspension and has played only 10 contests this season.