Yankees, Phillies Seek Veteran Lefty Relievers

The Phillies and Yankees are searching for veteran left-handed relievers, reported ESPN's Jayson Stark yesterday.  Let's take a look at who might be available.

Five southpaws have been reported to have cleared waivers so far: Chris Capuano, Jason Vargas, Bruce Chen, Tom Gorzelanny, and Ted Lilly.  Lilly is certainly not being acquired for a bullpen role, while Vargas is also unlikely.  Of the remaining three, Gorzelanny has been sharp against lefties and is currently in the Nationals' bullpen.  If the Nationals do not intend to tender him a contract after the season, they could move Gorzelanny now as a way of saving $485K and possibly getting a mildly useful prospect back.

Players do not have to clear waivers to be traded in August, but the Yankees and Phillies are at the bottom of the claiming order in their respective leagues.  Their best bet would be to go after an overpaid southpaw who is effective against lefties, as the Twins did with Brian Fuentes a year ago.  Examples could be Fuentes again, or Baltimore's Mike Gonzalez.

Otherwise, eight more lefty relievers I could see being available are John Grabow, Craig Breslow, Sean Burnett, Jose Mijares, Tim Byrdak, Randy Choate, Joe Beimel, and J.P. Howell.  Byrdak and Choate have been the toughest on lefties, but Choate might be hardest to acquire since he is controlled beyond this year.  Howell could be a fit for the Phillies – he's been battered by right-handed hitters but good against left-handed ones in a small sample, and the Rays may be planning to non-tender him after the season anyway.


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