Baltimore Orioles rumors heat up again as they continue their rebuild, reliever Zach Britton is certainly the next trade piece of interest moving towards the 2018 MLB trade deadline.
Per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, trade competition seems strong with several contending teams in need of a closer. Heyman also tweets that with other relievers off the market, the Orioles should expect a big return on Britton, similar to the Machado trade that sent five prospects to Baltimore.
ESPN’s Buster Onley reports the Orioles are signaling to teams they’re in pursuit of completing a trade similar or better than what the Royals received in the Kelvin Herrera trade. The Nationals-Royals mid-June trade featured prospects Kelvin Gutierrez, Blake Perkins and Yohanse Morel.
With six teams in the hunt for Britton, the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros appear as leaders for the Britton sweepstakes.
The Cubs top five prospects feature four right-handed pitchers and a shortstop, something that should draw interest from the Orioles as they possibly construct a trade in the next week.
The Astros own the No. 8 overall prospect according to MLB.com in outfielder Kyle Tucker, who is currently playing at the major league level for Houston. However, Tucker has a .143/.211/.171 slash line in his last 15 games, illustrating he may not be MLB ready just yet.
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have also shown interest in trading for Britton. Per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, the Dodgers has concerns over the luxury tax and the Braves are wavering to give away promising prospects for a rental piece in Britton.
Nonetheless, Britton is unquestionably playing his final days with the Baltimore Orioles, the team who selected him in the third round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur draft. Britton earned two All-Star selections and named American League Reliever of the Year in 2016.