Greg Fiume/Getty ImagesThe MLB non-waiver trade deadline
isn't until Tuesday Kyle
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, July 31, at 4 p.m. ET, but numerous teams are
making big moves already. Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is now a Los
Angeles Dodger, and New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia headed west to join the
Oakland Athletics' postseason quest.A few more deals should go down well before
July 31, including one for Balitmore Orioles reliever Zach Britton, who is
arguably the most coveted player left on the trading block.Here's a look at the
latest news and rumors on him as well as Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike
Moustakas and Tampa Bay Rays starter Chris Archer. Zach BrittonTwo American
League powerhouses have emerged as the leaders for Zach Britton, a two-time
All-Star who managed 47 saves and a microscopic 0.54 ERA just two seasons
ago.Per Jim Bowden of The Athletic:Jim Bowden JimBowdenGM#Astros #Yankees in the
lead for Zach Britton but several other teams still in play as trade
negotiations are rounding third and heading for home. #OriolesAfter a sweep of
the Seattle Mariners gave the New York Yankees a 50-22 record, the Bronx Bombers
are just 13-13 in their last 26 games, which include series splits with the
last-place Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets. A disheartening 7-6 loss to the
Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, in which ace Luis Severino looked shaky and Gary
Sanchez loafed on the field and base paths, didn't inspire any confidence.The
Yankees will likely make a move prior to the deadline to help right the
ship ,
butNew York needs help in the starting rotation more than anything. Still,
another bullpen arm can't hurt.The Houston Astros seem like a much more
plausible destination for Britton. Houston's bullpen jumped from 17th in
reliever ERA to second this year, thanks in part to the efforts of converted
starter Collin McHugh (5-0, 0.96 ERA) and Hector Rondon (1.53 ERA).However, it
can't hurt for Houston to improve on its pen, especially considering that the
team had a 5.40 relief ERA in the postseason last year. It ended up not costing
the team the World Series, but it did cost them some games. Adding Britton as
insurance would help prevent a similar situation occurring again.Mike
MoustakasThe bottom has fallen out on the Royals just three short years after
winning the 2015 World Series. The core of that 2015 team has slowly dissipated
over the past few campaigns: Notably, first baseman Eric Hosmer is a San Diego
Padre, and outfielder Lorenzo Cain is now a Milwaukee Brewer.Per Jon Morosi of
Fox Sports and the MLB Network, Mike Moustakas could now be on the move:Jon
Morosi jonmorosiSources: #Brewers have considered possibility of acquiring Mike
Moustakas and moving Travis Shaw to 2B, but pitching may become the more urgent
priority following Suter injury. MLBNetwork MLBMoose would join his ex-teammate
Cain in Milwaukee Ian Happ
, which is right in the thick of a playoff race. However,
the Brewers are 3-11 in their last 14 games and in serious danger of missing the
playoffs, especially with tough series looming against the Los Angeles Dodgers,
Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.Milwaukee needs another bat or two in the
lineup, and Moustakas could help fill that void. This season, the left-handed
slugger has hit 19 home runs in addition to 59 RBI and a .770 OPS. Much of that
damage has come against right-handers (15 homers, .808 OPS).The question is
whether incumbent third baseman Travis Shaw, who has never played second base at
any point during his big-league career, could make the transition to the
opposite side of the infield. If so, the Brewers lineup will have received a
monstrous boost. If not, then this potential deal could falter. Chris ArcherThe
Tampa Bay Rays are in an odd spot. On one end Jose
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, the team has gone 11 games over .500 since a 4-13
start, which has resulted in a 51-49 record after 100 games.That's encouraging,
but the American League is top heavy this year, and Tampa is still nine games
back of the second wild-card spot.Tampa has a long road ahead to make the
playoffs, and isn't giving the Rays much of a shot (0.7 percent
postseason projection).Therefore, the Rays could potentially look toward trading
some veterans and rebuilding for a brighter future. Chris Archer has been the
subject of trade rumors for a few years now, and that hasn't changed for this
season.Per Mark Feinsand of"According to a source, multiple teams have
expressed serious interest in Archer, who is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 16 starts
this season."Per Fangraphs, Archer has a career 3.44 xFIP and 25.8 percent
strikeout rate. At this best, he is simply untouchable thanks in part to a nasty
slider he throws 42.7 percent of the time. He has been hit hard of late (41.6
percent hard-hit rate in 2018) ,
but his 13.5 percent swinging strike rate helps negate that contact.The two-time
All-Star is a free agent prior to the 2020 season, when he will be 31 years old.
He likely has a fat multi-year contract waiting for him in two years, which is
why Tampa, the team with the third-lowest payroll in the bigs, may have
incentive to move him sooner rather than later. ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves
have built a 7 1/2-game lead in the National League East thanks to 42-21 record
within the division and a 45-30 overall road record — the best in the league.Now
the Braves (82-64) can wrap up the division title by turning SunTrust Park into
a real home-field advantage during their final homestand beginning Friday night.
Atlanta, just 37-34 in its home ballpark, welcomes Washington and St. Louis for
three games each, then Philadelphia for four games before playing the final week
of the regular season on the road against the New York Mets and Phillies.Article
continues below ...Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the NL East race might
go right to the wire. But the Phillies (74-71) fell on hard times and the
Nationals (74-73) didn’t get things turned around quite fast enough.“We’ve
worked hard to get to this point,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said Wednesday
after his team completed a 6-1 road trip by allowing just three total runs in a
three-game sweep at San Francisco. “We’ve grinded through things to get to this
position. We can look to bigger things now.”The Braves’ magic number for
clinching the division title with 16 games to go is 10 versus the second-place
Phillies and eight versus Washington, which fell 8 1/2 games behind with a 4-3
loss in 10 innings to the Chicago Cubs on Thursday in a makeup game at home. The
Braves are 5-2 at home and 9-7 overall against the Nationals Paul
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, who will pitch defending two-time NL Cy Young
Award winner Max Scherzer in the series opener. He is 17-6 with a 2.31 ERA and
leads the major leagues with 271 strikeouts.Fellow right-hander Kevin Gausman
will get the start for Atlanta, which lost at least 90 games each of the past
three seasons before turning things around this season. He is 9-10 with a 3.89
ERA overall but 4-2 with a 2.32 ERA since being acquired by the Braves at the
end of July. Scherzer is coming into his fifth start of the season against
Atlanta off his second complete game of the season. Gausman will face the
Nationals for the first time with the Braves after his shortest outing for his
new team.Gausman lasted just 4 2/3 innings and allowed four runs in a loss at
Arizona a day before Scherzer struck out 11 in nine innings in a home victory
over the Chicago Cubs.“I had plenty in the tank,” Scherzer said after reaching
double-figure strikeouts for the 16th time this season.Scherzer is 2-1 with a
1.67 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 innings against Atlanta this season, improving
to 9-6 with a 3.45 ERA in 21 career games versus the Braves.Gausman is 3-1 with
a 4.34 ERA in five career outings against Washington, all while with Baltimore.
He allowed four hits and two runs in six innings of a no-decision against the
Nationals for the Orioles in June.Braves third baseman Johan Camargo is nursing
a slight groin strain, but fill-in Charlie Culberson has flourished against the
Nationals this season, batting .350 (14-for-40) with five homers and eight RBIs.
Culberson has four hits, including a homer, in 10 at-bats against
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