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Daily Red Sox Links: Is this Zach Britton’s Red Sox audition?

With the Red Sox set for three games against the Orioles and Baltimore looking to deal soon, this may be the last time Boston gets to scout the left-hander. Plus Chris Sale’s slider, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s big day and other trade rumors.

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, the Boston Red Sox have been connected with a number of players on the trade market this year. One name that has sprouted up pretty frequently is that of Baltimore Orioles reliever Zach Britton. It seems pretty likely that the left-hander is going to be dealt before the trade deadline, what with the Orioles already trading away face-of-the-franchise shortstop Manny Machado right after the All Star break. That move, paired with an absolute abysmal season for the team as a whole, should signal that times are going to be tough in Baltimore for the next few years, if not longer. Teams entering such a stretch are usually amenable to dealing anyone and everyone.

A 30-year-old reliever who could yield some prospects to help with the rebuild seems like a surefire trade piece and an easier player to trade than Machado. Baltimore is reportedly fielding offers from a number of teams for Britton’s services and the Red Sox are one of them. They could certainly use some additional bullpen help. You can never have too much of that. Britton would immediately become the best left-handed option out of Boston’s bullpen even if he hasn’t been as effective as he was in 2016 when he came in fourth in American League Cy Young voting.

Therein lies some of the problems with trading for Britton. A knee injury this past winter kept him out until mid-June and since he’s come back he has not been his usual self. Through 16 total appearances, he has an ERA of 3.45 and a FIP of 4.43 while he is walking more than five batters per nine innings. Luckily, he has improved recently, with his last eight outings yielding zero runs, earned or otherwise.

If Baltimore is looking to deal soon, then starting today, the Red Sox will have a good chance to see if Britton is back to normal or at least close to it. Such a final audition (plus Baltimore’s asking price) could be the last deciding factor in whether or not Boston makes a deal within its division or if Britton is shipped off to one of the other teams interested in his services.

Chris Sale has one ridiculous slider and its helping him dominate opposing lineups. (Evan Drellich; NBC Sports Boston)

Sale only had to throw six innings yesterday as the Red Sox continue to monitor his workload to avoid the type of deterioration he suffered in the second half a year ago. (Nick Cafardo; Boston Globe)

Speaking of dominant pitchers, here’s a look at Craig Kimbrel. (Chad Jennings; The Athletic) ($$)

Jackie Bradley Jr. is having a solid month of July. Yesterday he went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. He is now slashing .265/.327/.469 with a wRC+ of 102 this month, which isn’t incredible, but is leagues above his work for most of the season. (Jason Mastrodonato; Boston Herald)

Rafael Devers has been enduring a sophomore slump but Alex Cora still believes in his young third baseman. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)

Rick Porcello will start tonight for the Red Sox. He’s had plenty of time off since his last start, which didn’t go so well. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)

As I said, Britton isn’t the only player the Red Sox are looking at. How about Mike Fiers? (Max Bultman; The Athletic) ($$)