Nine Names That Could Help Your Bullpen in a Trade

With ten spots in playoffs available for thirty teams, it makes sense that there are still a high number of teams that have not declared themselves buyers or sellers yet, especially with more than a month left until the non-waiver trade deadline. While it would be great to fix the bullpen arms with pitchers from the farm, their performances have been a little lackluster:

That’s pretty uninspiring. Looking at the standings up at the major league level, here are the teams that I’m confident in naming “sellers” at the deadline, even on Monday, June 24th. I apologize to any team’s fans that I may offend:

  • Seattle Mariners (33-43, 10.5 GB in ALW, 8.5 GB of 2nd WC)
  • Chicago White Sox (31-42, 10.5 GB in ALC, 9.5 GB of 2nd WC)
  • Chicago Cubs (31-43, 15.0 GB in NLC, 12.5 GB of 2nd WC)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (31-43, 15.0 GB in NLC, 12.5 GB of 2nd WC)
  • New York Mets (30-42, 11.5 GB in NLE, 12.5 GB of 2nd WC)
  • Houston Astros (29-48, 15.5 GB in ALW, 13.5 GB of 2nd WC)
  • Miami Marlins (25-50, 18.0 GB in NLE, 19.0 GB of 2nd WC)

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are a half game behind the Mariners, but I’m not ready to let ‘em go in to the seller’s column yet. The other Los Angeles team has a 32-42 record, but I feel like the NL West is still anybody’s race. Anyway, back to the names you were looking to see, these nine guys are names you could see targeted by teams. Keep in mind, that the better their performance, and the more years of team control they have before they become a free agent, the higher the asking price. Some of these names may not be traded at all, but it doesn’t mean some teams won’t try to make a run. Here are the nine names I’ve picked to look at:

RHP Jesse Crain, Chicago White Sox ($4.5MM in ’13, FA after this season) — Mentioned many a time by Buster Olney, Crain’s status of not being a “closer” may drop his price tag juuuuuust a bit. In 34.2 IP and 36 G, he’s struck out nearly a third of batters, has a 1.44 FIP, 0.52 ERA, and a 2.0 fWAR, leading all relievers.

Apr 28, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Jesse Crain (26) delivers a pitch during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at US Cellular Field. Tampa Bay won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox (FA after 2017 season) — With that many years of team control, his being a 9th inning guy will  probably make his price tag so high that a lot of teams get scared off.

RHP Bobby Parnell, New York Mets (FA after 2015 season) — With the Mets on the rise thanks to young studs in the rotation, they may be more reluctant to part with their guy that’s being used in the 9th. A 2.08 FIP, 2.53 ERA in 32.0 IP in 32 G will have some GMs thinking he could be a big help to their bullpen.

RHP James Russell, Chicago Cubs (FA after 2015 season) — The Cubs won’t be contenders for a while, so it’ll be up to Theo and company to see if they want to get value out of Russell now. He sports a 2.63 FIP, 2.22 ERA, pitched in 35 G and 28.1 IP.

RHP Kevin Gregg (yes, that guy), Chicago Cubs (FA after this season) — He doesn’t have a track record of this kind of success: 1.11 ERA, 2.31 FIP, .246 BABIP all in 24.1 IP, so that should keep his asking price lower than the previous names mentioned. This is a guy who you could see a team trading for and then all of a sudden everything blows up in your face. Kind of funny, he was released by the Dodgers on April 3rd of this year and then is doing well now.

May 21, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kevin Gregg (63) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Matt Lindstrom, Chicago White Sox ($4MM Option in 2014) — Seems like the White Sox have a lot of bullpen pieces, don’t they? Lindstrom’s another one, but he’s less than stellar so he should be affordable for most teams. 3.18 FIP, 2.59 ERA, but a 12.4% BB% and 17.1 K% may not be what fans are hoping for, but he could be there for the taking.

LHP Oliver Perez, Seattle Mariners (hear me out; FA after this season) — While that name may make you cringe a little bit, he’s changed his delivery and he’s got a reverse platoon going on this year:

Split G PA AB H 2B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG IBB BAbip
vs RHB as LHP 25 62 53 8 2 2 9 22 .151 .274 .302 3 .207
vs LHB as LHP 29 52 47 13 0 0 5 16 .277 .346 .277 0 .419
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/24/2013.

Shouldn’t be expensive, and the Mariners like corner bats so much, you may be able to give them a low level (corner infield) bat that doesn’t profile all that well, plus cash. Or something, I don’t know, I just know he shouldn’t be super expensive.

RHP Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers (30 years old, FA after the 2018 season) — I’m not sure the Brewers are going to hold on to Henderson for five more years, but his 2.03 ERA, 2.68 FIP and 28.6 K% aren’t going to push his price tag down any lower than it is right now.

Jun 9, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jim Henderson pitches in the 9th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee Brewers ($8MM in ’13, FA after this season) — Would this one be awkward at all? The answer: a little, but who cares. Just getting back into the swing of things in May, in 15.1 IP K-Rod has a 0.59 ERA, 2.40 FIP, a 29.1% K% and a 5.5% BB%. Solid, and a pretty small sample size.

So there are nine names for you to consider, and there are even more out there, but this post is going to be 1,000 words long by the time I finish and quite frankly, I don’t want to overstay my welcome. Who’s a name you’re considering and what do you like about that guy and how he can help the team? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: Bobby Parnell, Bullpen Trades, Francisco Rodriguez, Jesse Crain, Kevin Gregg, Oliver Perez, San Francisco Giants

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