Trade Market For Relievers

The free agent market is packed with useful relievers, especially from the right side.  Today let's survey relievers who may be available in trade this offseason.

Closers

Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon, David Aardsma, and Leo Nunez could be made available if their teams seek cheaper replacements.  All four could earn $4MM+ as arbitration eligible players; Papelbon will jump past $10MM.

Joakim Soria can be retained affordably by the Royals through 2014, and he's only earning $4MM in 2011.  In the unlikely event the Royals trade him, it'll be because they were bowled over by an offer of multiple young players.  He can block trades to the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals, or Cubs.

Bad Contracts

Francisco Cordero ($13MM through '11), Francisco Rodriguez ($15MM through '11 or $29MM through '12), and Scott Linebrink ($5.5MM through '11) are overpaid and likely immovable right-handed relievers.

Setup Arms

Brandon League and Joba Chamberlain are a couple of arbitration eligible late-inning guys who could be available.  League seems less likely to be dealt than Aardsma, and the Mariners probably wouldn't move both.  Chamberlain could be acquired by a team looking to use him as a starter.

Non-Tender Candidates

Plenty of relievers are non-tender candidates, meaning they could be trade bait prior to the December 2nd deadline.  Gustavo Chacin, Tim Byrdak, Brian Tallet, Jeremy Accardo, Todd Coffey, D.J. Carrasco, Blaine Boyer, George Sherrill, Chris Ray, Joe Smith, Sean White, Jim Johnson, Matt Albers, Dustin Nippert, Lance Cormier, Hideki Okajima, Jared Burton, Manny Delcarmen, Zach Miner, Pat Neshek, Tony Pena, Bobby Jenks, Dustin Moseley, and Sergio Mitre comprise this huge group.

Summary

The list of relief trade candidates is lengthy, but closer types such as Aardsma and Nunez are the most likely to go.  A few more trade candidates could surface if certain free agent relievers accept arbitration offers.  Teams are unlikely to overpay in trade with so many interesting free agents out there.


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