Boston Red Sox

MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Bullpen Options for the Boston Red Sox

Ben SullivanCorrespondent IJune 2, 2011

MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Bullpen Options for the Boston Red Sox

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14:  Manager Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox looks on before the game against the New York Yankees on May 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The Boston Red Sox will be buyers in the market for relief pitchers heading into the 2011 MLB trade deadline. The good news is that there are going to be lots of sellers out there. 

    You can never have too many good arms for Terry Francona to have in his tool belt, and nothing can derail a playoff run like not having enough options in the reliever department. 

    The Sox can improve their chances at making that World Series run by trading for additional arms in the bullpen. Built to win now, the team needs to make the right moves at the trade deadline to get that extra edge. If it takes just one or two more relievers to win it all, the Sox have what it takes to go out and get them. 

    There are plenty of good options available—here are 10 relievers that will be on the Red Sox radar this summer.

10. Mike Adams, San Diego Padres

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    DENVER - APRIL 10:  Relief pitcher Mike Adams #37 of the San Diego Padres delivers against the Colorado Rockies during MLB action at Coors Field on April 10, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Padres defeated the Rockies 5-4 in 14 innings.  (Photo by Doug Pens
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Already six games out of the NL West division lead, the San Diego Padres are in their usual seller’s position as we head up to the trade deadline. 

    One of the players that the Padres will be looking to unload will be the 32-year-old reliever Mike Adams. 

    Having bested his career averages in both ERA and WHIP so far this season, he’s on pace for one of his best years in the majors. 

    Adams would make a welcome addition to the Sox bullpen as a right-handed setup man.

9. Brett Myers, Houston Astros

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    KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Brett Myers #39 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait Spring Training photo Day at Osceola County Stadium  on February 24, 2011 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Myers has spent the last two years in the Houston starting rotation, but his experience coming out of the bullpen for Philadelphia shows that he has what it takes to be a long reliever. 

    It’s this kind of versatility that makes him valuable as a possible addition to the pitching staff. 

    With the injuries to John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka the Red Sox are in need of players who can eat up the middle innings as well as give them a spot start from time to time.

    Plus he brings some truly great facial hair to the table. A critical factor in postseason success.

8. Brandon League, Seattle Mariners

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    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 12: Reliever Brandon League #43 of the Seattle Mariners reacts on the mound after hitting batter Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Baltimore Orioles (not pictured) during the twelfth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 12, 2011 in
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Brandon League has been a stellar performer out of the bullpen so far this year for the Seattle Mariners

    League leads the AL in saves with 15, and has a solid ERA and WHIP at 4.88 and 1.17 respectively. 

    His fastball is his most effective weapon, reaching the high 90s with plenty of movement. He needs to start having better control over the pitch, but for now it’s enough to make him a quality reliever. 

    Most importantly to Red Sox fans, League is a Yankee killer. He has a 0.50 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 18 innings of work against the Evil Empire since 2008. 

    League won’t be easy for the Sox to get, as he’s one of the best young arms in baseball, but if they put together a compelling assortment of young prospects the Mariners would have a hard time holding onto him. 

7. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals

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    DETROIT, MI - APRIL 10:  Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals throws a ninth inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Kansas City won the game 9-5. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Another one of the better young closers in the game, the Royals could finally be willing to listen to reasonable offers for Soria this summer. 

    Kansas City has more than a few young prospects it's going to have to spend money to keep in the coming years, making him a talent the Royals should move while his stock is still high. 

    Despite some recent setbacks, Soria is still a top-flight closer, and at worst a solid right-handed arm to use in the setup role. 

    As long as the Royals don’t continue to ask for a king’s ransom in return for him, Joakim Soria could be the kind of top-notch arm that the Sox need.

6. Jonathan Broxton, L.A. Dodgers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 18:  Pitcher Jonathan Broxton #51 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts during a ninth inning rally by the Atlanta Braves on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 4-2.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Get
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Jonathan Broxton is another young closer whose recent struggles could make him a great value for the Red Sox this summer. 

    The strong-armed Broxton has had some injury setbacks lately, landing him on the 15-day DL on May 6th. If he heals completely from that injury he should be good to go for the second half of the baseball season. 

    With a strong right arm Broxton has the goods to be a solid contributor in the Sox bullpen. Plus, he weighs in at 300 lbs., and who doesn’t enjoy watching a big, tough hurler blow fastballs by opposing hitters? 

    The Red Sox could use the injury situation, as well as the general state of confusion that is the L.A. Dodgers these days, to steal Broxton away.

5. Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati Reds

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 08: Francisco Cordero #48 of the Cincinnati Reds looks for the catcher's signs as he pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 8, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Reds defeated the Cubs 2-0. (Photo by Jonat
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Cordero, a 12-year veteran with almost 300 saves to his credit, would be a great addition to a team with championship aspirations. 

    The Reds are currently four games out of the NL Central lead and are playing just .500 ball so far this year. With only a one-year, $12 million team option left on his contract, the team might be shopping the experienced reliever before the trade deadline. 

    The Red Sox will need players that can be counted on when the games get pressure-packed this fall, and Cordero has the experience to handle pitching in Boston.

4. Brian Fuentes, Oakland Athletics

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 1: Brian Fuentes #57 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers during a MLB baseball game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum May 1, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 7-2. (Ph
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Another veteran bullpen arm, Fuentes has the added benefit of being a lefty. 

    Fuentes has 10 years experience in the bigs and 198 saves on his record. His proven ability to provide quality relief innings makes him a valuable commodity.

    With Oakland in its usual cost-saving mode by July, Fuentes and his $5 million salary should be on the trading block. 

    The Red Sox could certainly use a left-handed specialist in the second half of the season, especially one who has the proven track record that Fuentes does.

3. Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07:  Francisco Rodriguez #75 of the New York Mets celebrates the final out against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 7, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Im
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Always exciting, never dull—Francisco Rodriguez can be called many things. 

    One thing that always has to be added after those other things is that he’s one hell of a pitcher. 

    With a career ERA of 1.73 this season and 283 saves in his career, Rodriguez has put up the numbers to prove that he has what it takes to get the job done. 

    Considering the current state of the New York Mets, the Red Sox could make a laughably cheap offer for him and they just might take it. 

    So yeah, he brings plenty of drama to the clubhouse, that much is for sure. But sometimes you need to add a little crazy to the mix.

2. Matt Capps, Minnesota Twins

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    BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 18:  Matt Capps #55 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 18, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Matt Capps is a right-hander in his prime with both setup and closing experience. 

    Sounds like a good resume for a job on the Sox staff, right? 

    Capps is a free agent after this year. He’ll have plenty of teams making him offers next winter, so the Twins would be wise to get something for him while they can. They’re already out of contention in the AL Central and most likely will not be able to match the kind of money that the big-market teams will waive in front of Capps. 

    The Red Sox could use his stuff in a setup-type role, as well as having the ability to use him as a closer if Jonathan Papelbon isn’t getting the job done.

1. Heath Bell, San Diego Padres

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 5:  Closer Heath Bell #21 of the San Diego Padres looks on from the mound in the 9th inning against the San Francisco Giants during their MLB Game at Petco Park on April 5, 2011 in San Diego, California. Bell got the save with the Pa
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Also a free agent after his season, Bell is likely to be moved by the Padres before he walks away and they get nothing for him. 

    There will be many teams in the hunt for Bell’s services, and for good reason. His 0.96 WHIP and 1.96 ERA this year are amongst the best of his career, and at only 33 he will have plenty of suitors heading into the trade deadline. 

    Bell commands a mid-90s fastball and a nasty curve. A confident hurler when on the mound, he should have the type of attitude that will allow him to be successful in the pressure cooker that is playing for the Red Sox. 

    The Red Sox could use him as added depth, as well as a good second option at the closer role. 

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