Free Agent Market For Left-handed Relievers

The free agent market for right-handed relievers features a number of pitchers who succeeded in major league bullpens last year. The selection for teams in search of left-handed relievers isn't quite as good. Here are the free agent lefties (closers excluded) that teams like the Yankees and Phillies will be considering as they look for relief help this winter:

The Type As

Scott Downs and Arthur Rhodes will both cost a draft pick if they turn down arbitration from their respective clubs. The Reds would like to bring Rhodes back and he's interested in returning to Cincinnati, so Downs may be the lone lefty who costs a pick. 

Mets Workhorses

Pedro Feliciano has led the National League in appearances for three consecutive seasons. He posted a 3.30 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 last year and should have his share of suitors. Hisanori Takahashi posted a 3.61 ERA in 122 innings as a swingman for the Mets with 8.4 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. He could re-sign in New York, but that seems unlikely

Lefty Specialists

There are a lot of lefty specialists to choose from this year and these relievers all limit lefty batters well (stats are for lefty-lefty matchups only): Randy Choate (9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 62% ground ball rate), Mark Hendrickson (7.6K/9, 3.2 BB/9), Dennys Reyes (9.5 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, 58% ground ball rate), Will Ohman (9.5 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, 55% ground ball rate) and J.C. Romero (7.8 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, 63% ground ball rate).

Joe Beimel and Ron Mahay don't get as many grounders or strikeouts against left-handed hitters, but they do limit walks well. Taylor Tankersley, a new addition to the free agent pool, has succeeded against lefties throughout his career.


Downs, Rhodes, Takahashi and Feliciano are four capable left-handers for teams to pursue. Plenty of lefty specialists will remain for teams looking to fill out their bullpens with proven relievers who can retire tough left-handed bats.

24 Responses to Free Agent Market For Left-handed Relievers Leave a Reply

  1. rockfordone 5 years ago

    Ben – How did you forget Randy Williams

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      J.C. Romero as well and Bruce Chen possibly as a swingman.

  2. bobbybaseball 5 years ago

    What about the Red Sox’ Okajima? Tough year in 2010 but good in ’09 and isn’t he eligible for free agency?

  3. Dwan 5 years ago

    Javier Lopez was 5 days away from joining this list. That would have been a huge loss to SFG.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Or they could have just re-signed him.

      • Dwan 5 years ago

        Doubtful after his dominant postseason.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Just give him the money? Were not talking about the Marlins.

          • Dwan 5 years ago

            The giants have a ton of money to dish out in Stadium debt, deferred money, raises, re-signings and a ton of arbitration this winter. J.Lopez shut down Jason Heyward, Bryan McCann, C.Utley, R.Howard and Hamilton in the playoffs. He easily would have got 5 on mil on the open market and the giants would have lost him.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Your making it seem like he would be the most desirable free agent on the market. He is a good left handed specialist.

          • Dwan 5 years ago

            You know how many teams would love a lock down left handed specialist out of the bullpen? The Giants don’t make the playoffs without Lopez

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I disagree and I think that on the open market he wouldn’t get more than 4-6 at most.

          • Dwan 5 years ago

            You disagree the Giants don’t make the playoffs without Lopez? The same guy that locked down Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez in the late innings this season.

            and 4-6 mil is what the Giants couldn’t afford to match. They’re already overpaying Jeremy Affeldt.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Okay so that’s 3 hitters. Buster Posey and Andres Torres had 400+ AB’s and Lincecum and Cain pitched 200 innings. “without Lopez the Giants don’t make the post-season.” I disagree.

          • Dwan 5 years ago

            Just quit while your behind. It’s obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I don’t know what I’m talking about? Okay Dwan nice to talking to you.

  4. reliever free agent class has lots of depth this year

  5. Dylan 5 years ago

    I want Feliciano on the Phils.

  6. Joe Beimel + Dodgers = Reunite!

  7. Okay here’s my predictions.
    Downs- Red Sox
    Feliciano- Yankees
    Rhodes- Reds
    Chocate- Dbacks
    Beimel- Mets
    Takahashi- Mariners
    Reyes- Cardinals
    Romero- Marlins

    • Dylan 5 years ago

      Phillies will def. Get a LOOGY.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Seems pretty good to me.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      i honest to goodness hope the cardinals leave the Fat Man alone. he was horrendous. don’t let the decent ERA fool you, in april, his era was 1.42. in may, it was 0.00. in june, it was horrifically 12.46, july it was 3.44, and august it was 13.50, in september he barely played because his season was essentially finished because of injuries-era was 1.50. i would rather not have 2 LOOGY’s than have Reyes as the LOOGY.

  8. BobbyJohn 5 years ago

    I think that Beimel will return to the Rockies. The only other reliable lefty they have right now is Matt Reynolds who tossed 18 innings over 21 appearances in a late season callup in 2010. He was very effective (2.00 ERA, 0.833 WHIP, 17 K, 5 BB) in those appearances, and I suspect that will continue, but Beimel was their overall best lefty the past two seasons. I see him getting a little over $2 million (what he made last year) to come back to Denver. He likes it here and the guys like him and appreciate what he brings to the team.

  9. ccsilvia 5 years ago

    What about Brian Fuentes? He’s a free agent, right? And he doesn’t cost a pick, won’t cost a ton in years/$ does a great job against lefties and has handled righties competently. Why is no one talking about him?

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