The Philadelphia Phillies are currently riding a dramatic five-game winning streak, but you wouldn't know it if you looked at Brad Lidge's performances over the last couple of games.
Nursing precarious leads, Lidge has loaded the bases in each of the last two games before escaping jams to ultimately earn the save.
If the Phillies are getting to the point where they can no longer afford to allow Lidge to keep trying to get his legs under him, and if they are going to make a playoff run, they may need to add another arm or two to the bullpen.
Here is a list of 10 potentially available relievers, both closers and set-up men, who are available to the Phils as they ponder a future with Lidge in the closer role.
Here is a truly insane thought:
Chad Qualls is having a horrendous year. His ERA is 8.49, his WHIP is over 2.000, and he has allowed an absurd 59 hits in 35.0 innings pitched.
But you know what?
Everyone is having a bad year in Arizona, from Dan Haren to Edwin Jackson to Rodrigo Lopez to Juan Gutierrez.
Maybe the problem is Arizona, either the stadium, the coaching, or the defense.
Qualls could be had cheaply, and might turn it around playing on a winning team with good pitching and good defense.
Joel Hanrahan is not really a closer, though he has finished games from time to time.
His 3.59 ERA isn't amazing, but his 1.031 WHIP sparkles, and he strikes out over 12 batters per nine innings, which is elite.
Billy Beane is always looking to wheel-and-deal, and Breslow is having a fine year for the A's, for whom the season is all but over.
Beane is the type of general manager who would trade Breslow for some Single-A outfielder who has as many walks as he does strikeouts.
Downs is a hot topic of conversations between the Toronto Blue Jays and several teams right now.
The key to Downs is that he is 34 years old and has only been a top notch reliever for about four years, so giving up a lot for him would be a mistake.
At 27 years old, Meek made his first All-Star team in 2010 and has a paltry 1.30 ERA.
He isn't a closer, and isn't ready to be thrust into that role, but having Meek as an eighth inning guy opens up J.C. Romero, Jose Contreras, or even Ryan Madson to close some games.
The Phillies sweep of the Colorado Rockies last week may have turned the Rockies into sellers.
Perhaps the Phils could snatch up Manny Corpas, who pitched quite capably in his two appearances against the Phils.
The important thing to remember about Corpas is that his 4.33 ERA is inflated by Coors Field, where he has a 5.47 ERA.
In other words, he could be a steal.
It is easy to fall asleep on Octavio Dotel because of his nasty 4.50 ERA.
Since the end of April he has converted on 17 of 20 save chances and has a 2.51 ERA.
Yes, the Chicago White Sox are a contending team, and yes, Bobby Jenks is having a rough year.
But this is a classic case of "we need what they got, and they need what we got."
Jenks is not the fifth best guy in the White Sox bullpen this season, and Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, and Tony Pena are being bandied about as possible Jenks stand-ins.
Meanwhile, the Sox offense has been sluggish, and Jayson Werth could be just what the team needs in the outfield.
A change of scenery could be just what both Jenks and Werth need at this point in 2010.
You hate to trade within the division, and Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says that he is not looking to trade his closer.
Capps is one of the few reliable closers out there that isn't on a playoff contending team, and he's been a lot more reliable than Brad Lidge this season.
Joakim Soria is off the market.
The Kansas City Royals closer is staying in KC, and he will be one of the building blocks for the Royals as the team moves forward.
He is off the table, and other teams shouldn't even bring his name up.
So says Royals general manager Dayton Moore. We'll believe it when we see it.
Meanwhile, Ruben, don't take no for an answer.