MLB Trade Rumors, By Position: Red Sox Pursuing Bullpen Help As Scott Downs Fronts Reliever Market

Done with the starters, let's move on to the relievers. Teams are always looking for pitching at the deadline, and said pitching doesn't have to be able to throw seven innings every turn. Oftentimes, a contender will be looking for an extra bullpen piece to help put them over the top. This year, there would appear to be quite a crop of potentially valuable relief options, and though we can't hit on every single guy available, here are the bigger ones:

RELIEF PITCHERS

David Aardsma, 28, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

32.1

4.73

15

35

2010: $2.75m
2011: arbitration-eligible
2012: arbitration-eligible

Seattle's surprising 2009 closer has seen a good bit of regression in 2010, but once you earn the ‘proven' label, it's hard to give it back, and Aardsma comes with a high fastball that's difficult to catch up to. Though a contending team probably won't want him closing, he could be of use as a setup guy.

Matt Capps, 26, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

44

2.86

9

36

2010: $3.5m
2011: arbitration-eligible

Capps has had a very strong year as the Nationals' closer after getting dropped by the Pirates, and though the Nats haven't publicly said he's available, they're reportedly taking a lot of calls, so one strong offer is all it would take to pry him away. Few relievers are able to combine Capps' stuff with his ability to throw strikes.

D.J. Carrasco, 33, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

54.2

3.95

22

44

2010: $0.95m
2011: arbitration-eligible
2012: arbitration-eligible

As a cheap arm who's demonstrated the ability to pitch to both lefties and righties, Carrasco's drawing a fair bit of interest as a 7th-inning option. His name has come up as many of the higher-level relievers have corresponding higher-level prices.

Bruce Chen, 33, LHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

63.2

4.38

30

53

2010: ? (presumably low)

Chen is flexible, having started ten games and made ten appearances out of the bullpen, but he's more likely to end up in relief in the event of a trade. He doesn't do any one thing particularly well and he's always struggled against left-handed hitters, but he'd make sense as someone's backup southpaw.

Octavio Dotel, 36, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

38

4.50

17

47

2010: $3.25m
2011: $4.5m club option (mutual option if traded)

Dotel has put an ugly start behind him, posting a 2.51 ERA since the beginning of May with a bunch of strikeouts and only two home runs. Any reliever with his kind of ability to miss bats will always draw eyes around deadline time.

Scott Downs, 34, LHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

41

2.41

10

33

2010: $4m

No reliever, it seems, has drawn as much interest as Toronto's Downs, who has very quietly posted a 2.29 ERA since 2007. As a strike-throwing groundballer who can handle righties and late innings, there's a reason Toronto reportedly wants a top prospect in return, although they're probably not going to get one.

Kyle Farnsworth, 34, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

41.2

2.38

11

33

2010: $4.5m
2011: $5.25m club option (voidable if traded)

Still with the big arm, now with better results. Given Farnsworth's reputation, few teams will likely trust him in a critical role, but he's there and readily available to pick up some seventh innings down the stretch.

Jason Frasor, 32, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

38.2

4.66

19

41

2010: $2.65m

Frasor has had an up and down year and failed to hold a tentative grasp on the closer role in Toronto, but again, a power arm with strikeouts and groundballs will command some interest, and he could be a more valuable piece than his ERA would suggest.

Kevin Gregg, 32, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

38.2

3.72

22

40

2010: $2m
2011: $4.5m club option OR $8.75m 2011-2012 option

Toronto's new closer hasn't necessarily pitched a lot better than Frasor, but he has a better ERA, and Gregg now has four consecutive years of pitching the ninth. If the Jays back off their high demands, Gregg - like the other two subjects of rumors in the same bullpen - should find a new home on a contending team.

Joel Hanrahan, 28, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

42.2

3.59

14

59

2010: $0.453m
2011: arbitration-eligible
2012: arbitration-eligible
2013: arbitration-eligible

A great get from the Nationals, Hanrahan has taken his game to a new level, and he's still under team control through 2013. Not surprisingly, a lot of teams are interested, and not surprisingly, the Pirates have put a high price tag on his name. Hanrahan won't move unless someone blows Pittsburgh out of the water.

Aaron Heilman, 31, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

45

3.60

21

36

2010: $2.15m

Heilman has drawn some attention for being one of the few Diamondbacks pitchers to not develop a crippling home run problem. As a hard-throwing arm with late-inning experience, Heilman would be a worse but cheaper add than many of the other relievers on the market.

Mark Hendrickson, 36, LHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

54.2

5.60

12

41

2010: $1.2m
2011: $1.2m club option

Hendrickson's ERA is ugly and there aren't a lot of rumors about him out there, but he's a left-handed long reliever who can pitch to both kinds of hitters, which gives him some appeal as a middle-innings pickup. He even comes with the flexibility of maybe starting a few games down the stretch.

Clay Hensley, 30, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

44.1

3.05

18

51

2010: $0.425m
2011: arbitration-eligible
2012: arbitration-eligible
2013: arbitration-eligible

All the failed Padre has done is strike out more than ten batters per nine innings, so, like Hanrahan, he's a good pitcher who's under cheap control for a long time. Unlike Hanrahan, Hensley has worse stuff, so his price would be lower. Still, he won't come at a discount.

Brandon League, 27, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

51.1

3.51

17

39

2010: $1.0875m
2011: arbitration-eligible
2012: arbitration-eligible

League's ERA has gone down, but so has his strikeout rate. Still, with the Mariners in the tank and League offering a mid-90s sinker that generates groundballs like nobody's business, expect the M's to field some offers over the coming days. There are few pitchers out there with arms like League's, so even when the results aren't terrific, the promise is blinding.

Brandon Lyon, 30, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

43.2

3.71

21

33

2010: $4.25m
2011: $5.25m
2012: $5.5m

It didn't take long for the Astros to think twice about their offseason signing, but though Lyon is available and not completely bad, no one's going to take him unless the Astros pick up some of the check or accept a bad deal in return. If Lyon does get moved, it's worth noting that 18 of his 52 walks over the past year and a half have been intentional.

Evan Meek, 27, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

55.1

1.30

14

49

2010: $0.4135m
2011: arbitration-eligible
2012: arbitration-eligible
2013: arbitration-eligible
2014: arbitration-eligible

The Pirates have little incentive to move their young, hard-throwing, All-Star reliever, but they will field calls, and there's no sense in ignoring interested parties on the off chance that someone offers a monumental package. More likely, Meek ends up Pittsburgh's closer of the future.

Will Ohman, 32, LHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

28.2

2.51

17

28

2010: $1.35m

It seems every contending team always wants a lefty specialist for the stretch run, and Ohman is the premier specialist available, as he's held left-handed bats to a .556 OPS on the year and .637 for his career. A concern is that he's struggled to throw consistent strikes, but he's a good bet to get moved at a low cost.

Chad Qualls, 31, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

35

8.49

15

32

2010: $4.185m

A controversial reliever, Qualls has a miserable ERA but a good rate of strikeouts. The Diamondbacks would like to move him, but other teams await some level of consistency. Just last year, Qualls managed 45 strikeouts with just five unintentional walks.

Kerry Wood, 33, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

20

6.30

11

18

2010: $10.5m
2011: $11m club option

The Indians would love to shed Wood's salary, and the righty still throws in the mid- to upper-90s. However, he's been more hittable than in years past, so while he could and should get some feelers and might even find a destination, odds are he won't bring back much for Cleveland, and he probably also won't be counted on to fill a critical role.  

Michael Wuertz, 31, RHP

IP

ERA

BB

K

22

4.50

10

18

2010: $2.2m
2011: $2.8m
2012: $3.25m club option

Wuertz, who had a monster 2009, is working his way back from shoulder problems. His velocity is coming back, his slider looks as good as ever, and he's whiffed nine hitters in his last 9.1 innings, so the promise is there, but he's a high-risk, high-reward kind of arm. When he's right, he's a difference-maker in the playoffs. When he's wrong, he's not pitching.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.