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Bullpen Pieces Hot Commodity at Trade Deadline

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Bullpen Pieces Hot Commodity at Trade Deadline
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       This time of year many phone calls are being made between baseball’s general managers to gauge the market for established veterans who will either help their team in the present, or for promising youngsters to help replenish depleted minor league systems. While the Adam Dunn’s or Roy Oswalt’s of this year’s market are the major pieces that can be had, typically the minor deals are the ones that prove to be most important for contending teams.

       One of the most coveted pieces for any contending team is a reliable reliever or shut down closer. The role of a reliever is not a glamorous one, but one that is depended on in most games. Whether it is the left-handed specialist to retire a big bat or a long reliever to eat up innings after a poor performance by a starting pitcher, each person has a role. Each of these roles is highly coveted at the deadline.

       This year’s market for relievers, being as thin as ever, has skyrocketed asking prices for relievers who may be shipped to contenders. One elite closer who may be on the market is Joakim Soria. The Royals have told teams that they will listen to offers on their right-handed closer, but will need “a boatload of talent” to acquire him. The Yankees are one of the teams to inquire on him, but Soria has the Yankees on his list of teams he does not want to be traded to. Another coveted bullpen piece on the market is Toronto reliever Scott Downs. The 33 year old has been impressive this year posting a 2.34 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. One team that has shown interest in Downs is the Philadelphia Phillies.

       The challenge for teams interested in bullpen pieces is to balance the amount of talent traded away to the player you are getting in return. The last thing GM’s want is to turn up in next year’s, “Worst 2010 Deadline Deals” column. The next few days will be interesting nonetheless, lets see which GM’s have the guts to acquire that special piece to lead their team to the World Series.

Next Time: “Trade Deadline Trade Grades”

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