Every baseball executive understood by mid-June that Washington general manager Mike Rizzo needed bullpen help -- again -- to help plug the gap at closer. But Rizzo’s choices were far less than perfect, certainly less attractive than in 2016 when he talked about deals involving Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller before trading for Mark Melancon -- all elite closers.

The biggest name available in this year’s market is Zach Britton, and because of an ongoing lawsuit between the Orioles and Nationals, the odds of a deal between Baltimore and Washington involving such a prominent player is probably close to zero.

So it came as no surprise to some of Rizzo’s peers that he eventually turned to Oakland to make a deal for bullpen help. He's made a lot of trades with Billy Beane, the head of the Athletics’ baseball operations -- almost a dozen trades involving Gio Gonzalez, Josh Willingham, Yunel Escobar, Tyler Clippard and others. For Rizzo and Beane, deal-making with each other seems like comfort food.

This time of year, needs and wants are just a couple of factors that shape deals leading up to the trade deadline. The working relationships between the executives making the deals are another -- and an incredibly underrated part of what goes on this time of year. Some rival execs can’t stand each other; some execs are friends and can make deals together; and some execs are friends and yet can’t seem to finish deals.

With that in mind, here are executive matchups worth watching over the next six days.