MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Relievers That Would Strengthen Any Bullpen
Now, before anyone jumps to conclusions about the picture that opens the slideshow, you can relax, because Mariano Rivera isn't going anywhere.
However, there have been plenty of rumors that have centered around relievers, most of which any team would love to have in their own bullpen for the stretch run.
There are some better than others, some that will cost more in return, and even more that can be had for not much at all.
However, whether they cost major league talent, top prospects, or your run of the mill "player to be named later," we'll see plenty of relievers moved at the deadline make a huge impact on their new teams as they make a run to the division titles and into the playoffs.
The following list is the 10 relievers who would make the biggest impact to any team that wants to make it deep into the playoffs.
Heath Bell (RHP - San Diego Padres)
Batting average against: .243
Make no mistake, this hard throwing right-hander dares those who face him to hit his 95+ MPH fastball.
He leads the big leagues in saves (26) and could be a great addition to a team that is looking for a lockdown closer, especially those that need a guy that can hold a lead when asked.
Whether he's available is a case for debate as San Diego's closer in waiting, Mike Adams, went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique. The Padres would be foolish not to listen if the right deal came around, but the chances of him being traded have gone from slim to almost none.
Scott Downs (LHP - Toronto Blue Jays)
Batting average against: .220
With Toronto more than likely looking up at the rest of the AL East for the remainder of the season, there's almost no question that Scott Downs could be a guy that will be on the move to a team needing a solid bullpen guy.
The left-hander has been as good as any reliever in baseball this season as the set up man for the Jays. Not only does his 2.56 ERA look good, but hitters are only hitting .220 against him. Any team would love to have those kind of numbers on their team.
Joakim Soria (RHP - Kansas City Royals)
Batting average against: .237
While the Kansas City Royals aren't exactly burning up the American League Central race, Soria's been a pleasant surprise as the team's closer.
Soria currently sits at 25 saves on the season and hasn't blown one since May 6th, a streak of 18 straight saves. Over his three and a half seasons with the Royals, he's saved 114 games, has 12 blown saves, and a .198 career batting average against.
While teams are looking at outfielders David DeJesus and Jose Guillen, others should look no further than Joakim Soria.
Kevin Gregg (RHP - Toronto Blue Jays)
Batting average against: .223
Kevin Gregg has gotten a chance to be a reliever in both leagues during his career. He's played for both the Blue Jays and Angels in the American League as well as the Cubs and Marlins in the National League. So at least he's not short on experience.
As the Jays' closer, he's closed out 21 of the 24 games that he's been given a save opportunity. While he has the ability to save games, he can also be a solid reliever for the back end of a bullpen.
Aaron Heilman (RHP - Arizona Diamondbacks)
Batting average against: .267
Aaron Heilman has been one of the only solid relievers out of the Arizona bullpen, currently holding a 3.98 ERA which is his lowest since a 3.03 ERA back in 2007 when he was a member of the New York Mets.
Though he's not closer material, he can be a long reliever or a guy that can come in and be a solid guy out of the bullpen. He's not a big name that could be available at the deadline, but he's one that teams might consider if they're not wanting to give up the farm.
Will Ohman (LHP - Baltimore Orioles)
Batting average against: .260
The Baltimore Orioles are going to be sellers, it's just a matter of time before we find out just how many players they're going to sell. One of those guys that could be on the trading block is left-handed reliever Will Ohman.
He's been solid for the Orioles all year long and, at 33 years old, he's having arguably his best season of his career. After five seasons with the Cubs and one each with the Braves and Dodgers, Ohman boasts a career best 2.63 ERA so far this season.
If he's on the block for the Orioles, he's going to be one of the top relievers to be acquired.
Carlos Marmol (RHP - Chicago Cubs)
Batting average against: .157
Carlos Marmol is one name that, if it hasn't happened already, will get a lot of calls from teams needing a bullpen guy for their stretch run.
Cubs manager Lou Pineilla has already been quoted as saying that the team will be in selling mode at the trade deadline, so why not listen to offers for a reliever that has 82 strikeouts out of the bullpen.
There's been talk that the team wants to part with outfielder Kosuke Fukudome as well as Ryan Theriot, but Marmol could receive the most phone calls in the next week and a half.
Matt Lindstrom (RHP - Houston Astros)
Batting average against: .280
The Houston Astros are another one of those teams that is going to be selling off pieces in the next week and a half. A fire sale if you will.
We've heard about Roy Oswalt possibly being on the move as well as first baseman Lance Berkman, but what about right-hander Matt Lindstrom?
His 22 saves are impressive as well as his 2.72 ERA, but what might scare teams away is teams hitting almost .300 against him (.280). Still, he's a 30-year-old reliever that could see his numbers improve with a change of scenery.
Leo Nunez (RHP - Florida Marlins)
Batting average against: .216
Leo Nunez could be one player that could get a lot of notice from teams around the big leagues, especially those looking for a young reliever.
The only problem at this point is the fact that the Florida Marlins haven't exactly made Nunez available, yet. That's not to say that he won't join Cody Ross and a few other players on the trade list, but he hasn't as of this moment.
Though he hit a rough patch, blowing two straight saves against the Mets and Braves, he's come back strong and closed out five straight.
Jonathan Broxton (RHP - Los Angeles Dodgers)
Batting average against: .234
I know this might be a complete long shot, but with the Dodgers currently on a four game skid (as of 7/18), there are teams that will begin to call about the availability of the right-handed closer.
Though there's almost no question in my mind that the Dodgers will be as reluctant as they are with outfielder Matt Kemp, to deal the hard throwing right-hander, they would be foolish not to listen to a serious offer.
He would be a more than solid guy to add to the back end of anyone's bullpen and would make an already lockdown bullpen a downright untouchable one.