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MLB Trade Rumors: Potential Deals to Watch for Heading into 2018 Deadline

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 23, 2018

Minnesota Twins' Brian Dozier bats against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 13, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

The days leading up to the MLB non-waiver trade deadline could witness a slew of teams making deals to upgrade their respective rosters ahead of the postseason. 

With a bidding war ready to break out over the top trade target left on the market, the teams who lose out on Baltimore's Zach Britton could panic and turn elsewhere to make trades before it is too late. 

While a few marquee names have already been dealt, there are plenty of other pieces on rosters of struggling teams who could help contenders in August, September and October. 

Below is a look at a few potential deals that may occur before July 31, all of which could reshape the postseason race. 

      

Zach Britton To Houston 

It's easier to pick out the contenders who haven't been linked with Britton than the ones who have. 

A long list of teams are reportedly interested in the 30-year-old, who also garnered a good amount of attention in the buildup to the non-waiver trade deadline 12 months ago. 

With franchises lining up at the Orioles' doorstep with offers for Britton, it looks like he'll be headed to a contender this season barring any significant setback in the coming days. 

The market for Britton will be dwindled down by Baltimore's demands, which could be high given the lack of high-quality relievers still on the market. 

It would've been understandable if Houston wasn't in play for Britton given the failed attempt to acquire him a year ago, but that isn't stopping their quest to bring in the reliever. 

According to The Athletic's Jim Bowman, the defending World Series champion is all-in on bringing in Britton: 

Jim Bowden @JimBowdenGM

Source: #Astros “all in” on Zach Britton and last year’s negated trade will have no impact on if they get him. #Orioles just want best best deal period.

In order to improve their bullpen with Britton, the Astros need to stave off interest from a plethora of teams, which continues to grow, as Fancred's Jon Heyman mentioned Atlanta, Colorado and Milwaukee as potential players alongside the Astros, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers: 

Jon Heyman @JonHeyman

Field of interested teams for Britton is expanding. Braves are interested (they have the prospects, but will they give them up?) Rockies have checked in. Even Brewers, who have stacked pen. Hou, Cubs, LAD, NYY all seem serious. Others, too.

The Astros need a consistent closer more than anyone in the pennant races, and if they're willing to give up what the Orioles are asking for, it seems like an easy deal to make for both parties. 

If the Astros miss out again, any one of the other contenders interested in Britton could swoop in to make a deal, but that would all come down to which prospects are on the table. 

       

Brian Dozier to Milwaukee

The Brewers were one of the few teams that failed to appease the Orioles with their offer for Manny Machado before he was shipped to the Dodgers. 

Even though Machado is off the market, the Brewers need a bat to improve their middle infield and help them push toward the NL Central lead, which is currently held by the Cubs. 

Minnesota's Brian Dozier appears to be an ideal fit for the Brewers, but they might face some competition for the second baseman, as ESPN's Buster Olney noted: 

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

The Indians' separation in the AL Central will give some space for the Twins to pursue best possible deals for Brian Dozier, and others. Dozier makes sense for Brewers, for sure, and depending on Boston's internal assessment of Dustin Pedroia health, could be a fit for Red Sox

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported after the All-Star Game that the Brewers were likely to target Dozier: 

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal

Among the players the #Brewers are expected to target now that they have lost Machado: #Twins 2B Brian Dozier. Team also will explore pitching upgrades as well.

Dozier isn't hitting for average as well as he has in the past, but he's still delivering power at the plate for the Twins, as he has 16 home runs and 50 RBI to go along with his .225 average. 

Although he isn't getting on base as much as the Brewers would like, a change of scenery could provide the necessary spark for Dozier to boost his career-low average and make the Milwaukee lineup more dynamic. 

     

J.A. Happ to New York Yankees

Pulling off a deal within the division is never an easy task, but the Yankees need help in their rotation, and Toronto's J.A. Happ is a perfect candidate to fill that void. 

Although the 35-year-old, who is 10-6 with a 1.175 WHIP and 130 strikeouts, would be a welcome addition to the back end of the Yankees starting five, he might come at a cost the team isn't willing to pay. 

According to SNY's Andy Martino, the price set for Happ and Texas' Cole Hamels is high, which would mean the Yankees would have to include a top prospect, like Justus Sheffield. 

Even if the price is too high at the moment, the Yankees are still putting in their due diligence on Happ, as they were one of three teams to watch Happ pitch Sunday, per CBC's Bob Elliott: 

bob elliott @elliottbaseball

Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers had scouts at Rogers Centre Sunday afternoon to see JA Happ pitch @RedSox @Yankees @Dodgers

The easy answer for how the Yankees should approach any negotiations with the Blue Jays is to wait out the process and see if the price falls.

If Toronto wants to get some return for a player like Happ to try and earn some positives from a disappointing season, it will be willing to listen to the Yankees at some point. 

The Yankees might have to give up a bit more to Toronto than they would like if a deal reaches the final stages of negotiations, but it would be worth it in order to have another strong arm to trot out to the mound to face the lineups of the Red Sox, Indians and Astros in the postseason. 

             

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference

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