Relief Trade Candidates

Eleven bullpens currently sport ERAs over 5.00, but it'd be silly to draw conclusions from 25-inning samples.  Still, certain contenders are probably already surveying the field of available relievers.  The Rays, Cubs, and Marlins are three teams that had bullpen concerns heading into the season.  Which relievers might be available a month or two from now?

  • The Blue Jays are riding high, in a first-place tie after their first nine games.  Still, GM Alex Anthopoulos will probably think about the big picture and shop his three priciest relievers: Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, and Scott Downs.  The Jays would need Gregg's consent to deal him prior to June 15th.
  • The Pirates have the worst bullpen ERA in the NL right now, but most of that can be attributed to Hayden Penn's 2.3 inning stint.  Down the road all the veterans will be fair game – Octavio Dotel, Brendan Donnelly, D.J. Carrasco, Jack Taschner, and Javier Lopez.
  • The Padres have the big prize in closer Heath Bell.  His save total will allow them to demand a premium for him, and he can be retained for 2011 (albeit with a raise upon this year's $4MM).
  • The Nationals may also make a few veterans available: Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, and Tyler Walker would make sense.  The June 15th rule applies to Capps and Walker.  They'll both be arbitration-eligible after the season.
  • The Royals have a couple of contracts to move in Kyle Farnsworth and Juan CruzTracy Ringolsby tweets that the Royals are "looking to unload Cruz and willing to pick up salary."
  • Chad Cordero is a name to consider; the 28-year-old off to a good start for the Mariners' Triple A club.

50 Responses to Relief Trade Candidates Leave a Reply

  1. What about George Sherrill? He’s making 4.5 million this year and is due for a raise in arbitration 2011. Broxton’s salary jumps up 3 million next year (to 7 million). I just can’t see the Dodgers paying 5 million plus for a setup man.

    • TwinsVet 5 years ago

      Dodgers are contenders. Or, at least they view themselves as such. Note that all the players Tim listed are on teams considered “rebuilding” this year, and hence their veteran/expensive arms are expendable.

      • Yeah, it’s a bit early to speculate that a pretty good team would be willing to deal their second-best relief pitcher.

        • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

          i think it could be argued he is our 4th or 5th best reliever, when all are healthy. reports say that both Kuo and Belisario are going to be back by the end of the month. At that point, Sherrill is expendable, IMO. kuo and broxton are better vs lefties and are simply better pitchers

      • yeah but this Dodgers team is unlike years past. The divorce is hurting them financially. Sherrill hasn’t pitched well at all (although the season is still very young) and the Dodgers have one of the worst farm systems in the majors. I’m a Dodgers fan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were eight or ten games out of first at the trade deadline. They have very little starting pitching, and their bullpen has underperformed so far.

        • TwinsVet 5 years ago

          Sure, in July the Dodgers could very well be shopping Sherrill if they’re 5+ games back.

          However, Tim’s post notes “Which relievers might be available a month or two from now?” Presumably this means April-May, and not at the deadline.

          Everything changes as the deadline approaches, once the contenders are filtered out from the think-they-are-contenders.

        • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

          your bullpen will suck when two of your top 3 relievers are not pitching. When we are giving consistent innings to Monasterios, and the Ortiz’s, its not going to be pretty.

          but you really think this team is going to be 10 games out? Our strength last year was our pen. Our weakness has been the pen. We have two guys who are arguably some of the best relievers in the NL… patience my friend. This team has an amazing offense and the relievers will come around with time

        • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

          One more thing, one of the worst farm systems? are you crazy? look at the pitchers in AAA. Almost no one has the prospect depth in terms of MLB ready pitching that we do.

          • Yankees420 5 years ago

            Sorry man but the Dodgers do not have a great farm, ranked in the high teens to low 20’s for the most part, they have plenty of pitchers close to MLB ready but overall their farm isn’t great. It’s no big deal really, if LAD can keep their core of Kemp, Ethier, Broxton, Billingley, and Kershaw together they’ll be fine.

          • lakersdodgersyankees4life 5 years ago

            they do not have a top 5 system, but they do not have a horrible one either, like you make it sound. Its been killed by recent trades, but the pitching is amazing

          • Yankees420 5 years ago

            I didn’t make it sound horrible, I said overall it isn’t great, which you admitted to when saying it’s been “killed” in recent trades. I listed where I found it to be ranked on average and said they have pitching that’s close, whether those pitchers will be “amazing” is yet to be seen, but if they are then I look forward to watching them pitch. (I live in LB)

  2. Taskmaster75 5 years ago

    The Cardinals will need help. Motte and McClellan have been uninspiring so far, and the organization shows no interest in Russ Springer apparently. They have some pieces they don’t really need that could get an above average reliever.

    • Not to mention that Franklin’s career xFIP is 4.89 and his xFIP last year was 4.27, along with the fact that his projected FIP for this season is in the 4.00-4.30 range. The Cardinals just don’t have a truly high quality reliever.

      • Triteon 5 years ago

        You and Taskmaster75 hit it right on the head. The only thing we could do is to pull a playoff conversion (ala Wainwright 2006) of Garcia to the closer role, if he continues to do well. Otherwise we’re screwed.

        • But Garcia will be more useful to St. Louis as a solid fifth starter than he would as a reliever. The Cards probably add an arm or two before everything is said and done.

          • Triteon 5 years ago

            I was talking about the playoffs only; there’s no 5th starter in October. In the regular season, if this offense can’t carry the deficiencies of a questionable bullpen then we have other issues to address.

  3. Confused at Penn’s 2.3 innings pitched (would actually be 3 innings), so I checked. He’s only pitched 2.1 innings.

    • He probably confused .3 with 1/3, so he put down 2.3 thinking that he was putting down 2 and 1/3 innings. Simple mistake.

      • I have always used .3 to represent one-third and .6 to represent two-thirds. Probably should use .7 for two-thirds, but it still makes a lot more sense to me than .1 and .2.

        • A decimal point is used in some cases to seperate different units of measurements within the same stat. So statistically innings pitched is written innings.outs in the same way that service time is recorded years.days. By attempting to be mathmatically correct you actually record the stat inaccuratly.

          • Its a matter of personal preference. I’ve seen it done both ways, and because Tim did it one way doesn’t make him “wrong”.

  4. Attention MLB – for the low, low price of FREE you can have Mike Gonzales. We don’t need him. V/r Andy McPhail

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      maybe he can be the player to be named later for julio lugo!!

  5. bbxxj 5 years ago

    I think Frasor or Downs to the Cubs makes the most sense of the scenarios I can think of. The Cubs really need a viable setup guy to stabilize that bulpen and the Jays don’t really need three late inning guys if they can get a decent prospect in return.

    • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

      Do the cubs have anything worth giving up that the Jays would actually want?

      • bbxxj 5 years ago

        Yeah, I’m sure they do. It won’t take all that much to get a reliever with less than one year left on contract. I would go after Downs so they can have a lefty to set up the righty Marmol, but get whichever comes cheaper. They aren’t going to get either for spare parts, but it won’t take some blue chip prospect.

        • Roll Fizzlebeef 5 years ago

          Downs would be the harder of the two to acquire because of him being the only lefty in the pen at the moment (although they do have a repurpoused David Purcey and Jesse Carlson in the minors if they need them) and he’s been pretty much lights out since the start of Spring Training.

          • Redhawk 5 years ago

            Want a lefty? RANDY FLORES FOR SELL! Get him while he’s not sucking!

        • East Coast Bias 5 years ago

          It would be funny if they traded for Gregg and he ended up beating Marmol for the closer role…again! haaha

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            That wouldnt be funny at all. :*(

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        “Do the cubs have anything worth giving up that the Jays would actually want?”

        Yes! And because Hendry is our GM, its pretty much “Take your pick” I imagine. We loooove trading top prospects for mediocre middle relievers (especially if they have control problems!) So if you are hoping for Jay Jackson, you might just get your wish.

      • crunchy1 5 years ago

        The Cubs have a lot of valuable pieces in the minors, much more than is necessary to give up for a 2.5M RP coming back down to earth after a career season like Jason Frasor. The question with the Cubs isn’t, “Do they have enough?”, it’s “Are they going to be foolish and give up too much?”

        • rockiesmagicnumber 5 years ago

          I guess I’m looking more at Downs than Frasor, in terms of him being a better pitcher and less leapfrogging bad years to create value for himself.

      • Ferrariman 5 years ago

        yeah an actual shortstop. hak-ju lee is probably 1.5 years away and castro might be up in july

        • crunchy1 5 years ago

          Not sure that’s where they match up now that the Jays have signed Hechevarria, who should be up nearly as quickly as Castro will. At any rate, though I don’t doubt for a second the Cubs would gladly overpay for a mediocre reliever like Frasor, I also don’t think they’ll part with Hak-Ju Lee. They’ve made too much of an investment with him to just dump him off for short term help.

          I hope it doesn’t happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they traded one of their better pitching prospects not named Andrew Cashner but the guy that makes most sense to me for both teams is Ryan Flaherty…still too much, in my opinion, for a guy like Frasor but the Cubs would at least be trading from depth.

  6. Redhawk 5 years ago

    You could add the Rockies Manny Corpas to that list as well. Though with his contract and his slipping of velocity I’m not sure how much demand he would generate. He has been keeping the ball down, and using a sinker, more and his slider much less as the slider and fastball don’t have the same “zing” they did a couple of years ago. He is still pretty young, and has experience as a closer.

  7. East Coast Bias 5 years ago

    That Tyler Clippard guy is pretty good. Don’t think the Nats would move him though…

    • He’s been lights-out in 7 innings so far, but he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher and that’s always going to be an issue if he’s walking 4-5 guys per nine innings.

      Then again, this season his velocity is up and his walks are down thus far, so maybe he’s made some improvement, he’s only 25.

  8. Tim, in reality the Jays can’t trade Kevin Gregg before June 16th, even if he agrees to a trade, unless they are willing to basically give him away for a minor leaguer earning less than $50,000 or the same in cash.

    The rules of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement make it a deterrent to sign a free agent and trade him before June 16th by severely limiting what a team can receive back.

    Go look at the CBA, Article XX, section B, 6a…(top of page 75)

    “Any Club signing a contract after the expiration of the elec-
    tion period with a Player under this Section B may not assign his
    contract until after the next June 15. However, notwithstanding the
    foregoing, such contract may be assigned for other Player contracts
    and/or cash consideration of $50,000 or less prior to the next June
    16 if the Player gives written consent to such transaction.”

    link to

  9. RichMahogany 5 years ago

    I thought the Royals were converting Farnsworth into a starter this year. Has that experiment already failed?

  10. Your comment moderation isn’t working. It’s taking too long to approve comments, and in the meantime, new stories are posted. It’s killing any baseball discussion in the comments. You need either more moderators or to read and approve comments faster.

  11. The Blue Jays can’t trade Kevin Gregg before June 16th, even if he agrees to a trade, unless the Jays are willing to get virtually nothing.

    The CBA severely limits what a team can receive back in a trade for a player they signed as a free agent if they try to trade him before June 16th. They can only get a player contract that is $50,000 or less, or cash, or a mixture of a contract and cash, limited to $50,000 total. This is a deterrent from teams like the Yankees signing every free agent and trading half of them for prospects.

    It’s in the CBA, Article XX, section B, 6a.

    link to

  12. Interesting that I can’t post a link to MLB(dot)com without the entire comment being banned.

    As I tried to say twice before, the Blue Jays cannot trade Kevin Gregg before June 16th, even if he agrees to a trade, unless the Jays are willing to trade him for virtually nothing.

    The CBA severely restricts what teams who try to trade recently signed free agents before June 16th can receive back by limiting it to player contracts and/or cash totaling $50,000 or less.

    That means a team can’t trade for major league players, nor can they trade for multiple minor leaguers, nor can they trade for a minor leaguer who has appeared in the majors before, because they would have a two way contract at $65,000.

    This was added to the CBA to prevent teams like the Yankees and Red Sox from signing every free agent and trading half of them for prospects.

    It’s in the CBA, article XX, section B, 6a. I’d post a link but the wonderful comment moderation system will ban the comment.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      um i don’t think there’s a chance that gregg gets dealt before JUNE 16TH anyway

      • I’m just pointing out that the rules restrict teams from what they can get in return, so all this talk about trading anyone signed as a free agent before June 16th is a waste of time.

  13. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    chad cordero had some really good years. if he is truely healthy, i think a lot of teams would be interested.

  14. crunchy1 5 years ago

    I think the Cubs should steer clear of the Jays. AA is pretty shrewd and he’s been asking too much for his mediocre, overpaid relievers…and I’m afraid Hendry and the Cubs may be desperate enough to make a deal with them. I’d like to see them focus on Capps…of course, if we would offered him more money to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now.

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