Zach Britton Orioles Yankees
Zach Britton #53 of the Baltimore Orioles in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 17, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The 2018 MLB trade deadline is only a week away, and the New York Yankees haven’t been able to acquire a starting pitcher that will significantly improve their rotation. With stars like Jacob deGrom and Madison Bumgarner seemingly unavailable, there might not be a game-changing starter on the trade market.

The Yankees’ best option might be to upgrade their bullpen since some of the league’s top relievers can be had for the right price. Baltimore Orioles’ closer Zach Britton is at the top of that list, and New York is reportedly one of the top contenders to acquire the left-hander.

Several potential playoffs teams, including the Yankees’ chief competition in the American League, are interested in acquiring Britton. Trading for him wouldn’t only bolster New York’s bullpen, but it could prevent them from having to face the reliever as a member of the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox in the playoffs.

New York certainly doesn’t need another closer since Aroldis Chapman is already one of the league’s best. The team really doesn’t have to upgrade their bullpen at all, given that New York’s relievers lead all of MLB with a 2.75 ERA. Houston is second with a 2.96 ERA, and 27 of the sport’s 30 teams have a bullpen ERA of 3.30 or higher.

But available starters like Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ and Michael Fulmer might not even crack the top-three of the Yankees’ rotation. Adding Britton to a bullpen that already has stud relievers like Chapman, Dellin Betances, Chad Green and David Robertson could shorten games in which Sonny Gray or one of the Yankees’ rotating No.5 starters has to take the mound.

“It's not the best starting pitching market currently,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told WFAN’s “Boomer and Gio” Monday. “If you can get starting pitching that's obviously high end, that's a plus, but there's not a lot of that walking around. The alternative is to get starting pitching that can give you a chance to win and get you deep enough into a ballgame.”

When Britton is healthy, he’s among baseball’s best pitchers. He’s got a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings after missing more than two months with an injury, though the veteran seems to be finding a groove with eight consecutive scoreless innings. Britton had a 0.54 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP during his last injury-free season in 2016.

Adding Britton wouldn’t prevent New York from also acquiring a starter. The price on the reliever could be relatively high, despite this being the last year of his contract. Baltimore received five prospects in exchange for Manny Machado.

The Yankees are six games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East and four games ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the first AL Wild Card spot.