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Five Questions Facing Orioles As Trade Deadline Approaches

July 2, 2018
BALTIMORE -- July's here, and that means the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline is just more than four weeks away. With that in mind, let's take a look at five pertinent questions about the Orioles' upcoming free agents and who they may trade.

1. When Will Manny Machado Be Dealt?

The guess here is that a deal for Machado will happen later rather than sooner, but a deal is coming.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said last week that there is more interest in Machado now than there was at last December's MLB Winter Meetings.

Industry sources and published reports have linked Machado with a group of National League teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.

Machado's play at shortstop hasn't drawn rave reviews, and most teams trading for him would want him to play third base, his best position, sources say.

While there was chatter a few weeks ago that Machado and the Cubs seemed to be a match -- that may be a stretch. The Cubs have Kris Bryant playing third, and while the Orioles may be interested in Chicago's current shortstop, Addison Russell, Baltimore's real need is younger pitchers, and the Cubs have already used most of their top prospects in previous deals.

2. Do Teams Still Want Zach Britton?

Britton is still highly coveted by a number of teams despite a 6.23 ERA in nine appearances. 

Scouts from two major league teams that have watched Britton say they aren't deterred by two rocky recent performances; they say it's still his spring training. Britton had surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon in December and pitched for the first time this season June 12. 

A year ago, Britton missed two months with an elbow injury and didn't return until July 5. The closer was still able to generate interest by the deadline, though the Orioles rejected offers.

3. How About Brad Brach? Is There Interest In Him?

Brach has generated some interest in the trade market, though he could probably also be moved prior to the Aug. 31 trade deadline when a player has to clear waivers first.

The right-hander had a 6.55 ERA May 1, and it's currently 3.62.

While Brach has 10 saves in 12 chances, there are questions about his ability to close. He's seen as a setup man, but he could still be a valuable trade chip.

4. Would Adam Jones Agree To A Trade?

The Orioles' longtime center fielder has been in the major leagues for 10 years and for more than five years with his current club, allowing him to veto any trade. Brach, Britton and Machado don't have that ability.

Duquette indicated last week that the Orioles have not approached Jones about waiving his clause.

In the final season of a six-year, $85.5 million contract, Jones is hitting .287 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs and may welcome a chance to play for a contender.

5. Are There Any Other Orioles With Trade Value?

Danny Valencia, who hit well while third baseman Tim Beckham was on the disabled list, could be of some interest. However, Valencia, who's hitting .276 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs, isn't a great fielder even though he can play first, third and the corner outfield positions.

It seems unlikely the Orioles will trade any players who are eligible for free agency beyond this season. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop's value is far down due to his subpar season.

Follow Rich on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox