The trade deadline is a few weeks away, so the rumor mill is about to heat up. To prep you for the coming trade season, we're providing a primer on who the top available trade targets could be as get closer to July 31st.
Who doesn't need relief help at the deadline, right? Over the next few weeks, general managers will fall all over themselves to overpay for a pitcher who will throw all of 30 innings for their new team by the end of the season. Let's see who those targets might be, or at least the higher profile ones. Seriously, there are SO many relievers.
Probably not available, but it couldn't hurt to ask
Jonathan Broxton – Actually, he seems to be very available according to recent reports but then we would have had to break from our nice little grouping format. Nuts to that! Broxton has done well to re-establish himself as a quality reliever this season even if he is generating whiffs like he used to.
J.J. Putz – He is slowly clawing his way back to a respectable stat line after a horrendous start to the season, sort of like the D'Backs as a whole. If Arizona doesn't get themselves back into the playoff picture by the end of the month, they could very well move Putz, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. That is a big "if" though.
Rafael Betancourt – Most bad teams would love to rid trade away a 37-year old closer signed through 2013 while he is still effective and carries value. However, Colorado is not most bad teams as they seem to be under the impression that they can rebuild without trading anyone of value. Management loves Betancourt, so they figure to be loathe to move him at the deadline.
Take my (overpaid and/or ineffective and/or injured) starting pitcher, please!
Carlos Marmol – The Cubs can't feel good about paying $9.8 million next season to a guy who lost his closing job this season and only recently got it back more out of necessity than actual merit.
Francisco Rodriguez – Not only is K-Rod having a rough year by his standards, but he is still owed nearly $4 million the rest of this season. He hasn't been so bad that the Brewers are going to give him away just to save money though, but kicking in some cash sure couldn't hurt.
Matt Capps – He's probably over-matched working as a "capital C" closer, but that doesn't matter right now as he is trying to work his way off the DL before the end of the month. If he makes it back, he may not be in Minnesota for long.
Grant Balfour – Balfour pitched his way out of the closer gig early in the season, but he has been solid since then. However, he isn't terribly happy with how his demotion back to middle relief went down, so the A's have extra incentive to move him by the deadline.
Brandon League – Another closer who lost his job and since found his way back to respectability. He's just biding his time in Seattle until he hits the open market, but the Mariners could expedite manners by sending him to a team in need of some late-inning help.
Brett Myers – Myers is a very interesting case. He is a starter by trade, so teams could acquire him with an eye towards stretching him out. He has also been good enough as Houston's closer to continue working in high leverage relief. The danger with him though is that he has a hefty $10 million vesting option for next season based on games finished. Caveat emptor.
Huston Street – Quick, Street is healthy! Trade him now before he gets hurt again!!!!
Something is better than nothing
Randy Choate – Has left arm, will travel, but only if the Marlins and their already wretched bullpen fall out of the race, which might happen because, well, like I said, their bullpen is wretched.
Matt Belisle – He has been incredibly effective this season with a 1.77 ERA, which is even more amazing when you factor in Coors Field. He is signed through 2013 (with an option for 2014), so the Rockies don't have to part with him. That being said, they need to give up something if they are going to rebuild and Belisle might get sent packing if the Rox can't stand to let go of the aforementioned Betancourt.
Brandon Lyon – 'Memba him? Yeah, Lyon is back and pitching surprisingly well for Houston. He is also a guy who some team might overvalue because he has the infamous "closing experience" on his resumé. You've been warned.