Trade Market: Closers

The free agent market features closers such as Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, Fernando Rodney, Jose Valverde, and Billy Wagner, plus former closers like J.J. Putz and Takashi Saito.  How about the trade market?

  • Joe Nathan, Twins.  Nathan has long been among the game's best closers.  He's guaranteed $24.5MM over the next two seasons, and some have wondered if the Twins might trade him as a way to clear payroll.
  • Heath Bell, Padres.  Even with a small payroll, the Padres don't have to move Bell's salary.  He's due a sizeable arbitration raise on this year's $1.255MM salary and is under team control through 2011.
  • Francisco Cordero, Reds.  Cordero's contract is a burden for the Reds – $25MM over the next two years.  With all the closer options named in this post, Walt Jocketty will be hard-pressed to find a taker.
  • Bobby Jenks, White Sox.  Jenks is due an arbitration raise on this year's $5.6MM salary, and moving him would give the White Sox payroll flexibility.  So would non-tendering him, if Kenny Williams comes up empty on the trade front.  Matt Thornton would be his replacement.
  • Matt Capps, Pirates.  Capps is under team control through 2012, and he's due an arbitration raise on this year's $2.3MM salary.  It wouldn't be much of a raise, given this year's 5.80 ERA.  Like Jenks, we can't rule out a non-tender.  The Pirates offered Capps to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy before the Twins trade, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Kerry Wood, Indians.  Set to earn $10.5MM in 2010 with a 2011 vesting option, Wood is an unnecessary piece on the now-rebuilding Indians.
  • Matt Lindstrom, Marlins.  The arbitration-eligible Lindstrom hit the DL with an elbow issue and lost the closing job to Leo Nunez.  He seems a good bet to be unloaded this winter. 
  • No matter how you slice it, there are more than ten available closers this winter via trade and free agency.  The Orioles, Rays, Tigers, Angels, Braves, Phillies, and Astros face late-inning uncertainty, and it looks like a buyer's market.

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