Baltimore Orioles Trade Rumors: Nationals focused on acquiring Britton

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 13: Zach Britton
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 13: Zach Britton /

The Baltimore Orioles have already acquired starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson as the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline quickly approaches with rumors heating up about Orioles closer Zach Britton.

So far, the Baltimore Orioles trade rumors are centered in on the Orioles closer Zach Britton, who has drawn significant interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros and local-rival Washington Nationals.

Out of the three teams, the Nationals is the latest team rumored to acquire the lefty closer. On Saturday, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the Nationals are focused on a trio of left-handed relievers including the reigning Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year.

Heyman furthered his report Sunday morning confirming the Nationals motivation to acquire Britton, but uncertainty looms on if the Orioles will, in fact, trade their closer.

The report also revealed that the Orioles are looking to get a top-of-the-line prospect in return for Britton after their AL East-rival New York Yankees received a plethora of top prospects.

In detail, Heyman stated:

"The Orioles are said to be seeking a package that includes a very top prospect — no surprise considering the deals the Yankees made last year for Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller — but there’s no word yet that anyone’s come close to meeting the price.Based on the asks, rivals say the Orioles have signalled to teams that they seek something above what the Yankees got for Chapman but not quite what they got for Miller. The Yankees received top prospect Gleyber Torres in the Chapman deal, and top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield in the Miller deal, setting a standard for superstar relievers."

As a result, if the Nationals want to gain the powerful lefty closer, names such as outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto.

Ranked No. 4 in Baseball Prospectus’ 2017 Midseason Top 50 prospect, the speedster and noted by Jeffrey Paternostro and BP Prospect Staff as a centerfielder with five-tool up-the-middle potential, Victor Robles is a superior prospect the Orioles seek in return for Britton. The other top-tier Nationals’ prospect Juan Soto, who ranked No. 12 in the Top 50 prospect rankings, would likely be involved in the deal.

Also in play are division leaders and serious 2017 World Series contenders Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Astros are among the leading candidates to grab Britton before Monday’s MLB Trade Deadline.

The bullpen of the Astros is the anchor restraining the team this season from their first ever championship. Adding undoubtedly one of the best closers in MLB, Britton may be the missing link in the Astros quest for a World Series title.

Also rumored throughout the month of July is the Dodgers eagerness to receive the Orioles southpaw. Right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler is among the Dodgers leading prospects, along with outfielder Alex Verdugo and starting pitcher Yadier Alvarez.

Next: Orioles acquire veteran pitcher from Phillies

Britton, 29, extended his save streak to 56 games in the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 win against the Texas Rangers Saturday night. Despite his 3.44 ERA on the season, Britton has a 1.42 ERA  and a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities.