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The trade rumor mill is in full gear with less than a week until the trading deadline, so you’d probably expect this article to be all about trade candidates that could leave bullpen roles in flux. Hooray for met expectations!

Heath Bell – He’s the big dog on the trade market now, not just with regard to relief pitching but in general as well. He’s been linked to every team this side of the Springfield Isotopes. A list: Cardinals, Angels, Phillies, Rangers, Braves, Blue Jays, Reds, Pirates, White Sox, Yankees. My money is on the Rangers winning the sweepstakes, which would land Mike Adams in the closing role, where he would be among the league’s elite.

Mike Adams – Teams are also inquiring over Adams, a reliever the Padres are hesitant to move. However, can you imagine how well-stocked the Padres’ farm system would be if they decide to move both?  It’s not like the relief cupboard would be bare, either; Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, Josh Spence and Ernesto Frieri have all had some degree of success so far. I could see them getting Jurickson Profar and/or Martin Perez from the Rangers, considering Bell brings along with him the promise of draft picks for the acquiring team. Adams himself should net a top prospect. I do think Adams will ultimately be a Padre on August 1, though. If both are dealt, Gregerson will likely become closer.

Leo Nunez – The Marlins are taking calls on offers for Nunez, who still has one year of arbitration remaining. If Florida can get a good pitching prospect for him, they’ll bite. The Phillies have inquired about the Marlins closer, while any of the teams listed in the Bell paragraph could be in depending on the price. Edward Mujica would move into the closing role with a trade, but I’d say Nunez isn’t traded this year. If the Marlins don’t contend next year in their new park, they can always ship him away for a good prospect at the 2012 deadline.

Huston Street – Street would obviously be one of the better arms on the market, though he could very well also be considered the most injury prone. Any team trading for Street will have to commit at least $8 million after this season (a $7.5 million 2012 salary plus a $500,000 option buyout). No word on the teams involved, but we can assume the Rangers, Phillies and Cardinals have all touched base. The Yankees should be in the mix as well, as always. Matt Lindstrom would probably close in the event of a Street trade.

Jason Isringhausen – Izzy has come into the closing role as predicted after the K-Rod trade. He’s performed admirably in his short time with the job, collecting a win and two saves in his first three games as closer while allowing no runs in four innings. His price wouldn’t be nearly as prohibitive as anyone listed above, so he’d make for a nice consolation prize for teams like the Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Reds. However, the Mets are talking him up as a “mentor” to Bobby Parnell, who would close if Izzy is shipped off, as well as the other Mets relievers. I call BS on the posturing move and say Izzy is a Cardinal again by this time next week.

Brandon League – The Mariners have experienced one of their worst swoons in recent memory, going from AL West contenders to trading-deadline sellers in the span of about two weeks. As a result, teams are inquiring about Brandon League, who’s filled David Aardsma’s shoes quite well. His quality season should make his salary rise significantly in his final year of arbitration, and that could spurn the Mariners to make a move. Throw League’s name in as a possibility to all the teams in the Bell post, and AL-only fantasy leagues should already be checking on the status of David Pauley, who should close if League is traded.

Andrew Bailey – He’s one of the better relievers that could be traded this week, though the probability of a trade is so low that I’m only including him as an obligation. The Rangers would love to have him, while the A’s would (I’m sure) love to have multiple top prospects. Don’t expect a deal to go down. Grant Balfour or Brian Fuentes could close after a trade, and I’m leaning toward the A’s going Dirty in the five percent chance someone gives the farm for Bailey.

Joakim Soria – Here’s another closer whom teams like the Yankees and Phillies have called about but who’s not getting traded. How do I know? The Royals have annouced they’ll move Aaron Crow into the rotation next year, and he’d be about the only person they could have long-term hopes of excelling in the role right now.

Matt Thornton – Remember him? The Cardinals and White Sox are discussing a trade involving Colby Rasmus, and Thornton would be a prime candidate to make the trip to the National League in the event of such a trade. Fernando Salas has been great this season, but Thornton has three years of elite stats and could move into the role should Salas falter during the stretch run. The way Tony LaRussa has juggled closers this year, you almost think he’d feel obligated to get Thornton in the role for a week or two.

Quick hits

Brad Lidge is back, though it’ll be a while before the team thinks about giving him the ball in the ninth… Speaking of the Phillies, Charlie Manuel alluded to Antonio Bastardo keeping the closing job for the long-term, saying he “might be able to do whatever he wants to do with the way he’s been.” Apparently, that excludes closing games, as Ryan Madson went on to get the next few saves. Madson > Bastardo > Lidge right now … J.J. Putz is on the verge of re-joining the Diamondbacks; expect him to earn the job virtually immediately upon return, as manager Kirk Gibson is a proper gentleman that doesn’t play mind games, unlike some people. Kudos to David Hernandez for a quality performance as the closer; you’ll hear more about him in the future … Joe Nathan’s famous again; eat him up … Jon Rauch is currently the Blue Jays closer despite the team not having any games for him to save. Should an opportunity arise in a close game, expect Rauch and Frank Francisco to hold hands on the mound while attempting to finish the game together. That’s legal, right?

From Around The Web

  1. Ralph says:
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    @Grey…

    I need to remove Jon Lester from the DL today and need to drop a pitcher. My options are Brandon Beachy, Johnny Cueto, Cory Luebke, Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann. I can also drop Rauch if need be as I have three other closers and it’s a head to head league where the guy I am playing this week only has Mike Adams and Brandon League as his relievers.

    Also, should I drop any of the guys not dropped for Lester for Scott Baker?

    Finally. Josh Reddicl or Travis Snider?

  2. I’d go Reddick, Baker and Lester over Snider, Zimmermann and Rauch.

  3. SetPhaserstoDL says:
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    If Heath Bell gets traded to the Rangers, does he displace Neftali Feliz as the closer there or will we see a closer-by-committee arrangement (ugh…)?

    As a follow up, if I own Bell in a league, should I be looking to move him if I was able to get full value?

  4. chata says:
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    Bell would be a perfect fit for the rangers , allowing neftali his
    transition to SP .

  5. RiffRaff says:
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    What is Adams value if he becomes the closer… is he a top 10 RP right away?

  6. Tim says:
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    So I need to trade away some power to catch up with pitching. What’s a reasonable SP to ask for Stanton, someone like Hanson?

  7. Pedro says:
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    gregerson has been terrible – really think he closes if adams / bell dealt?

  8. A-Gon With the Wind says:
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    Grey,

    On a team that is floundering at saves with Papelbon, Guerra, Putz already locked in, would you drop Rajai Davis and his .230 average for Isringhausen if you are holding Kemp, Andrus, Kinsler, Desmond Jennings, Nelson Cruz to make up the SB gap?

  9. projectbadass says:
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    How would you rank these potential closers Wood, Wilton Lopez, Pauley, Lindstrom, Thorton, Fuentes?

  10. Steve Stevenson says:
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    With the Cards in on everyone, what do you think the odds are that Salas holds onto the closer role? I have decent offers on him right now, but saves are so precious in my league that I can’t afford to give him up if he’s going to keep getting them.

  11. giving kuroda and marcum for hamels? too much, fair, getting a deal?

  12. shibboleth says:
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    Thanks, R.J. Pauley is news to me so I’ll be watching that closely.

    Alvarez just got called up today. Who would you prefer ROS – Alvarez or Valencia? Just picked up Valencia this morning so I can be swayed either way.

    Thanks!

  13. Eng says:
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    RJ, thanks for the article. Do you not think Jake McGee is worth mentioning given the Farnsworth rumors?

  14. @SetPhaserstoDL: I think Bell moves to a setup role with the Rangers unless they absolutely have to make a switch. And yes, make a move if you can trade him for full value.

    @RiffRaff: I’d say he’s close to being a top 10 guy even without the saves, so he’d certainly be a top 10 option if he’s closing.

    @Tim: Sure, that sounds in the ballpark.

    @Pedro: He hasn’t been as dominant as last year, but I’d hardly call him terrible. I think he gets first crack, though the Padres could well go with a committee.

    @A-Gon With the Wind: Make that move, or grab Javy Guerra instead if he’s available (he is out there in too many leagues).

  15. Eddy says:
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    Kind of going off of what Eng said, who would take over if Farnsworth gets traded?

  16. @projectbadass: It’s hard to give you a realistic ranking as all depend on the trade market, and there’s no way to be sure who gets dealt. I’d probably put Pauley and Lindstrom first though.

    @Steve Stevenson: If you can get something of quality, I would do that. All it’ll take is one or two post-trade blown saves for there to be a switch.

    @kR Express: I think it’s a solid deal, depending on who’s out there to add as a FA replacement.

    @shibboleth: I’d probably go with Alvarez and his upside.

    @Eng: I hadn’t heard anything about Farns when I filed the story. I could definitely see him in an Upton package in order to get better prospects though. I think Peralta would get the ball first in the event of a trade, but there’s no doubt McGee has been excellent since returning. He’s definitely making a case for himself.

  17. Brad says:
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    Pence for Shields? I would be getting Pence. Do you think this is a fair trade?

  18. Brad says:
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    Pence for Shields? I would be getting Pence. Do you think this is a fair trade?

  19. tbone says:
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    With Lidge back I will have to make a decision who to keep next year in a NL 5×5. Lidge or Collmenter. I have kept waiting for Collmenter to fall off, but he just keeps killing it. Is he for real long term? Also I’m having a hard time seeing Lidge becoming the closer again…?

  20. rick says:
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    Long-time reader…first time poster–need an objective view on a trade

    20 team keeper league (9 keepers per team)…one team is trading James Shields for David Freese straight up.

    Veto or let it go?

    FA 3Bs include W. Betemit and Ryan Roberts. FA SPs are Lohse, Arroyo, Mike Leake.

    Does the thought change if the team getting Shields is in 5th place and the team getting Freese is in 15th place?

    Also, the team getting Freese is starting Juan Uribe and has Arod on the DL and his SPs are Shields, Morton, Nicasio, McClellan, Wade Davis, Niemann, Beavan.

    The team getting Shields has Jose Bautista at 3B and has Colby Lewis, Harden, Cahill, Romero, Anibal, Cecil at SP.

    Trying to get an impartial opinion. Thanks in advance!

  21. BlinkULDHC says:
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    re: Mike Adams

    All indications here in SD are that Heath Bell is all-but-traded and he won’t be a Padre a week from now. If Adams is available, I’d take him right away, since the worst-case scenario is that Adams gets traded to a contender and still puts up elite mid-RP numbers. More likely, Adams stays in SD and puts up sub-2 ERA sub-1 WHIP closer numbers.

  22. KCC26 says:
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    @ ALL: liriano dropped in a 12 team mixed. who do i drop for him?

    beachy, luebke, wandy, chacin, bedard, dempster?

  23. Cleveland Sports says:
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    @rick

    You should only veto the trade if you think the managers are in collusion. Now, I think the team getting Shields is obviously winning this trade, but you never know how long A-Rod is going to be out and he might just be trying to prepare for the worst. I would agree that his SP staff is pretty thin, and this isn’t a good trade for him in that capacity. However, it’s not your job to decide whether a trade is inherently fair, rather, only to determine if the managers are in communication about the trade and one of them is actively trying to throw his team under the bus for the rest of the season because he’s too far out.

  24. BlinkULDHC says:
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    @KCC26

    I’m not even sure I’d want Liriano over any of those guys. For every clean game you get out of him, you get 3-4 bloated 12 ERA games.

    If you must, I’d probably drop Dempster for Liriano, unless you want two guys whose ERAs push 5.00.

  25. @Brad: I’d take Shields, but it may depend on your league settings.

    @tbone: I’d go ahead and keep Collmenter. Better to have a young starter on the way out then a aging closer on the way out.

    @rick: Seems like a pretty dumb deal. I would post to Tradebashers.com and see what they say.

    @KCC26: I’d probably take him over Dumpster, but like stated above, it’s close.

  26. cincinnasty says:
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    Trade Time

    who do I keep? McCutchin or Bruce

    10 team keeper

    these are my to candidates for my third of three i get to keep

    Im getting offered a second round pick for either one which amounts to a Pick from 40-50th overall

    What do you guys think?

    Trade McCutchin or Bruce?

  27. Cincinasty says:
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    Bruce or Mccutchin for a keeper going forward

    I am going to trade one for a draft pick as I cant keep both and this team is doomed

    Thanks

  28. ChiSox says:
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    @Rick I’d veto it, it smells like collusion. I also veto trades if I think a team is ‘dumping’ players for the hell of it. Too much time is put in to have a season ruined because of that.

  29. @cincinnasty: Kind of depends on categories and league setup. Both have great value, but as long as SBs are counted I’d lean toward McCutch.

  30. Texas have scored 20 runs so far and Chris Davis is 0 – 6

  31. Maester Aemon says:
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    @Grey

    Just pulled a trade (our deadline is 8/5) and would like to know what you think I should do. League is 5×5 cats (meow) where pitching has been amended to lose WHIP and add HOLDS. Dynasty keeper where you keep all players but they hold out and contracts advance, and a complex FA system that’s too messy to go into here…so let’s look at talent alone.

    Trade was Masterson/Ike Davis/Viciedo/Harper (we have 5 minor league spots to use on our rosters)

    for

    Holliday/Freeman/Shield/Hanson/Victorino

    So lineup sits now at:
    Olivo
    Freeman
    Espinosa
    McGehee
    Aybar
    Ethier
    Holliday
    Quentin
    (Bench is Posey, Rasmus, Victorino as keepers and Loney, Infante, Theriot as filler fodder)

    Rotation (4sp/4rp)
    Billingsley/Bumgarner/Shields/Hanson/Balfour/Hensley/Rauch/Samardzija
    (Bench is Cobb, Floyd, Lamb, Morton, Pauley)

    FINALLY TO THE QUESTION:
    Would you move much from this roster (offers coming for Shields/Billingsley/Holliday/Quentin already) for prospects like Dom Brown/Trayvon Robinson/etc etc or would you have another recommendation?

    My team has SUCKED this year (again) and I want to start competing in this league, it’s fun but not really being on the backside of the glory hole for the rest of the teams to enjoy weekly without regret,

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