Virtually every team in baseball is looking for bullpen help, and here’s the latest in relief pitching buzz…
- The Yankees are pursuing Aroldis Chapman and will “compete to a certain extent” for his services, GM Brian Cashman told media, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter links). The club is also talking to Kenley Jansen and looking at trade opportunities, so the Yankees are clearly flexible in their search for back-end relief help if Chapman’s bidding gets too high.
- The Mets are interested in swinging a deal for Orioles right-hander Brad Brach, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The Mets have been rumored to be seeking right-handed help in the ’pen but aren’t pursuing top-tier free agents. Brach would represent an affordable setup option, but with two years of club control and a 2.39 ERA over his past 158 1/3 innings, Brach should come with a high asking price. The Orioles have been linked to Mets outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson (they’re said to prefer the latter), but neither of those outfielders would be enough to get the O’s to part with Brach.
- The Mets haven’t ruled out Mike Dunn as a possible signing, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports via Twitter, but the club is “not so high” on the veteran left-hander.
- The Cubs are one of the more serious early suitors for Royals closer Wade Davis, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).
- The Giants are one of the teams who have asked about veteran lefty J.P. Howell, Olney tweets. Howell is reportedly only looking for a one-year contract. San Francisco has an open LOOGY role with Javier Lopez hitting the open market. Howell posted a mediocre 4.09 ERA last year, and though his peripherals were in line with his prior years’ work, Howell was uncharacteristically vulnerable to lefty hitters (.302/.343/.417) in 2016.
- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters (including ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber) that the Sox “haven’t closed any doors” on re-signing Koji Uehara or Brad Ziegler. Both pitchers fit Boston’s desire for a setup man with closing experience.
- The Blue Jays are one of a number of organizations that have had contact with Ziegler, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto is presumably looking to add to to its setup corps in front of closer Roberto Osuna.
- Ziegler has also drawn some attention from the Nationals, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The Nats are also considering fellow free agent Neftali Feliz as they look to bolster their bullpen. Of course, D.C.’s top priority in the relief ranks is surely in the ninth inning, and it is hard to imagine either of those players being trusted with the closing role.