Free Agent Market For Right-handed Relievers

The Tigers, Blue Jays, Cubs and Twins are some of the many teams that will likely consider free agent right-handers for their respective bullpens. Here are the names on the market this winter (non-closers only):

The Type As

If they turn down arbitration, Grant Balfour, Jason Frasor, Matt Guerrier and Dan Wheeler will each cost a draft pick to sign. Keep in mind that the budget conscious Rays won’t necessarily offer arbitration to Balfour and Wheeler. The Blue Jays will likely offer Frasor arbitration.

Strikeout Machines

Denny Bautista (11.8 K/9), Takashi Saito (11.5 K/9), Koji Uehara (11.3 K/9), Joaquin Benoit (11.2 K/9), Justin Miller (11.1 K/9), J.J. Putz (10.8 K/9), Octavio Dotel (10.6 K/9), Jose Contreras (9.1 K/9), Kyle Farnsworth (8.5 K/9) and Jesse Crain (8.2 K/9) can all strike opponents out. Most of these relievers have their faults, though. Bautista and Dotel walk too many hitters, Saito will be 41 next season and Uehara, Benoit and Putz have missed time with injuries in recent years.

Useful Middle Relievers

Jon Rauch, Chad Durbin, Miguel Batista, Aaron Heilman, Elmer Dessens, Jamey Wright and Guillermo Mota were somewhat useful last year and could help teams in 2011. Dessens won’t be posting a 2.30 ERA again, but he could be a solid reliever. It’s hard to imagine anyone here but Rauch signing a two-year deal.

Former Starters For Bullpen Depth

Jeff Suppan, Micah Owings, Boof Bonser, Chad Gaudin, Jeff Weaver and Chan Ho Park can chew up innings, but they don’t have much upside and you probably don’t want them pitching in high-leverage situations. Park, to his credit, pitched well in Pittsburgh, but most of these pitchers appear to be in line for minor league deals.

Injury Issues

Tyler Walker hasn’t pitched since June, David Riske came back from Tommy John surgery last year and Mike Lincoln suffered an oblique injury and didn’t pitch after May. If teams want to get really adventurous, they can call up Kelvim Escobar.


The market for right-handed relievers features a ton of strikeout machines and a number of relievers with closing experience. There are also some lesser arms out there, but overall it's a good crop of relievers, especially if you think Benoit, Putz and Uehara can stay healthy.

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13 Comments on "Free Agent Market For Right-handed Relievers"

4 years 9 months ago

Chad Qualls was nowhere near as bad as his numbers suggest. Some team will give him a small contract so he can rebuild his value and it will pay dividends for them.

4 years 9 months ago

Saito, the one that got away from Boston and would like to have back. Sure that option on him was around 4-5M after 2009 season, but would rather offer him a 1 year deal now for 4-5m then give any of those other guys like Downs 3-12M, or even more.

Balfour is one of those guys who is on-off from year to year, Putz is on a down hill free fall, Fuentes maybe, but would cost more and is not effective vs RH hitters anymore.

For Boston, to get one of the effective guys here, Saito back as the 1st, even if only available every other day injury recurring risk and all, since you know he is going to be effective, then see if the price will drop on a Fuentes or Dotel later.

4 years 9 months ago

I hope Miguel Batista plays on. I like it when guys are in their 40’s, and he writes fiction and poetry. We need more guys like that tin baseball. And a 109 ERA+ in 82.66 innings.

I wonder if Trevor Hoffman will pitch again?

4 years 9 months ago

Frasor will remain a Jay, no one will take him as a type A, especially since he proved he cant close..

But question, if the jays offer him arb, and he accepts can the jays walk away from it after he accepts?

4 years 9 months ago

No… but they can trade him which I wouldn’t rule out either.

I think teams signing multiple Type A FA may think about picking up Frasor if it would only cost a 2nd or 3rd round pick but yeah, I think he likely stays which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

4 years 9 months ago

I wouldn’t give up a second rounder to pick up frasor, when there are good available arms as type b’s.

I’m guessing he’s back in the pen, but like you said, its not a bad thing at all.

I wonder who will close next year though?

4 years 9 months ago

Micah Owings to the Phils, buy him a OF glove and he’s your middle relief AND the right-handed OF part-timer they need!


4 years 9 months ago

Did Juan Cruz retire after his shoulder injurysurgery?

4 years 9 months ago

Is Kerry Wood left-handed now?

4 years 9 months ago

Any reason Kerry Wood wasn’t mentioned, or just an oversight from the option he had?

4 years 9 months ago

Just a guess, but I think he will probably be included in the closer post as a lesser option. Though Rauch and a few others who are ‘lesser’ options made this list….

4 years 9 months ago

Micah Owings is underrated in my view. If he were able to get his pitching self back together he could be a threat in any NL lineup. Just imagine if your SP had a short outing, you bring him in from the bullpen to pinch hit, and then keep him as the hitter in the #9 spot until you reach your late inning guys. If I was an NL GM I’d seriously consider this.

4 years 9 months ago

I think the Braves should go after Jon Rauch. He’d be a perfect right hander for the team.