With hours to go before the trade deadline, the number of suitors to whom the Orioles might deal closer Zach Britton has increased with the emergence of a third team. The Indians, according to Cleveland-based beat writer Paul Hoynes, are now “pushing hard” for Britton.
That throws them into a mix that still includes the Dodgers and Astros, two teams who are going to waltz into the postseason and would like to do everything they can to make sure that their stay lasts for as long as possible.
This doesn’t mean the Orioles are sure to deal Britton. A team executive from a club involved in the Britton pursuit spoke to Ken Rosenthal to say it’s not certain whether the Orioles move Britton at all. It’s an eyebrow-raising thing to say, but at this point, you can’t really trust an involved executive to offer a totally unbiased quote. He’s trying to influence the market.
Another reliever, Addison Reed of the Mets, came off the board early on Monday morning. The Red Sox traded three prospects for the pending free agent. This trade is good news for the Orioles in the sense that it removes one of the relief pieces from the market without satisfying the need of their biggest Britton (or Brad Brach) buyers.
The Indians are an exciting team to jump into the mix for Britton. According to the most recent prospect rankings from MLB.com, they have two top 100 prospects - not exciting, but both of them are in the top 25.
At a glance, one might hope that Dan Duquette could ask for, and possibly get, Triston McKenzie, the #24 prospect in baseball, who’s been dominating the Carolina League at age 19. Cleveland’s #4 prospect, shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang, would also fit a big O’s need, and he’s at Double-A at age 21, so he’s not too far from the bigs.
You never really know with trade stuff. It’s not as easy as just pointing to a team’s best prospects and they show up in the O’s system on a big league track immediately. But another serious bidder for Britton is a good thing. Either the Indians will beat what’s already being offered, or they will cause the Dodgers or Astros to offer more.
As I write these words, there are five hours to the deadline. It’s going to be a wild ride.