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.
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.
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.