Former big league reliever Burke Badenhop is joining the Diamondbacks in an interesting new baseball operations position, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. In his new role, Piecoro writes, Badenhop will perform “acquisition-based pitching analysis/sports science work.” That sounds like a great way to start a new career path for the veteran hurler, though unfortunately it’ll mean sacrificing the fame and riches associated with his gig as an MLBTR contributor.
In all seriousness, MLBTR wishes Burke the very best in his new pursuit; be sure to check out his excellent work in the Player’s Perspective Series. Here’s the latest from the relief market:
- In his latest MLB Roundup column, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that a game of musical chairs appears poised to begin in the next couple of days as the market for left-handed relievers begins to sort itself out (ESPN Insider subscription required). Per Olney, the Indians, Mets, Blue Jays, Phillies, Giants and Marlins are the teams most aggressively seeking left-handed bullpen help. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal also tweeted this morning that the Mets are still seeking bullpen help, though Olney notes that the team doesn’t have the payroll capacity to retain Jerry Blevins at his current asking price. There are a number of free-agent southpaws remaining on the market, including Blevins, Travis Wood, Boone Logan, J.P. Howell, Charlie Furbush (recovering from August shoulder surgery), Chris Capuano, Javier Lopez and Craig Breslow. Olney notes that Wood’s deteriorating swinging-strike rate has been a cause of concern for some teams.
- While the Indians are indeed most interested in a southpaw, the club is not limiting itself to left-handed relief options, Rosenthal notes (Twitter links). Among other possibilities, Cleveland is said to be “doing background work” on veteran righty Joe Blanton, though Rosenthal notes that it’s far from clear whether the organization will even give out any more MLB deals (which Blanton surely will require).
- Following a workout that was reportedly attended by about half the league, Breslow is drawing some level of interest from the Indians, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Rockies, Mets, Cubs, Twins and Reds, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford (Twitter links). The 36-year-old’s altered arm angle has piqued the interest of teams to the point where some consider him a viable fallback to Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan.
- The Rays are still receiving trade interest in closer Alex Colome, tweets Rosenthal, but they’re not in any rush to move him. The 28-year-old Colome dominated opponents after taking over the ninth inning for the injured Brad Boxberger, tossing 56 2/3 innings of 1.91 ERA ball with 11.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate. Colome, though, is controllable for another four years and won’t even be arbitration-eligible until next winter, so the asking price on him would presumably be exceptionally high. While the Rays may not feel compelled to shop Colome, the team typically is willing to listen on nearly any player. I’d imagine any offer would need to include MLB-ready lineup help in addition to some prospect capital.
- The Twins are interested in Joe Smith, reports 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson in his latest podcast (audio link, with bullpen talk beginning around 1:02:55). (Wolfson also noted interest in Greg Holland, but he’s now heading elsewhere.) Minnesota is “slow-playing” its search on the free-agent market as it attempts to wait out the market to secure a late value pickup or two, and with plenty of quality names left on the market, they’re probably not the only ones employing that approach. The Twins have previously been connected to both relievers, though that interest was first reported months ago, so it wasn’t exactly clear if they’d changed course at all. New Twins chief baseball office Derek Falvey knows Smith quite well, as the side-armer spent the 2009-13 seasons with the Indians, where Falvey was previously an assistant general manager.