MLB Trade Rumors and Speculation: Heath Bell and Other Relief Pitchers for Sale
Year after year, top World Series contenders in Major League Baseball go looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline. Sometimes the players that are moved don't provide much help at all, and sometimes, they can swing a pennant race.
Some are closers languishing on bad teams. Others are middle relievers who other teams think can be closers.
The following players are players that can and maybe will be shopped by their team in advance of this month's July 31 trade deadline.
1. Joakim Soria
Joakim Soria has been one of the best closers in baseball for the last few years.
He started off this season slow, but has really picked it up since recovering his closer's role from rookie Aaron Crow.
With a heap of prospects ready to hit the big leagues over the next couple of seasons, the Royals may be ready to contend soon.
Moving Soria for more young talent would allow Kansas City to get younger and better at the same time and help them improve their team for the future.
2. Francisco Rodriguez
Francisco Rodriguez has been a dominant reliever in baseball for a long time.
With the Mets unlikely to want him to reach his gigantic $17.5 million vesting option by finishing 55 games (not saving, finishing), he could be on the move.
Whatever team gets him will likely want to turn him into a setup man rather than a closer to avoid paying that option as well, and K-Rod has said he's OK with that as long as he's moved to a contender.
The haul the Mets receive in return for Rodriguez may not be as big as they are expecting simply because of that option. If a team trades for Rodriguez to use as a setup man and their closer gets injured, they may be roped into a $17.5 million dollar contract they don't want.
UPDATE: Francisco Rodriguez has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for two players to be named later
3. Kevin Gregg
Kevin Gregg hasn't exactly been that great as the closer for the Baltimore Orioles, but he has had a solid career as a reliever in both the closer and setup roles.
He can probably be had for relatively cheap due to his struggled and can possibly make a big difference in the seventh or eighth inning.
Gregg is not having his best season, but he proved he still has fire and competitiveness by throwing at and fighting with David Ortiz last week (Maybe the New York Yankees could use him; they never throw at Ortiz.).
Gregg has already been traded twice in his career, and therefore, teams should not be worried about him adjusting to a new situation on the fly.
4. Brandon League
Despite having a couple of front line starting pitchers in Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda, the Seattle Mariners aren't going to be serious contenders for at least a couple more years.
They also have another closer—albeit an injured one—already on their roster in David Aardsma, and that makes Brandon League expendable.
League is having a solid, if unspectacular, season and could provide nice value in the pen for any number of teams.
He has experience as both a closer and setup man in both Toronto and Seattle, and should be able to fill either role wherever he winds up.
Trading League, along with some other solid veterans, for young talent would allow the Mariners to continue to stock their farm system while their high draft picks from the last few years have time to pan out.
5. Heath Bell And/Or Mike Adams
Heath Bell and Mike Adams are two of the best relievers in the National League, and maybe all of baseball.
Unfortunately for the San Diego Padres, they will likely not be able to keep both of them beyond this year.
The Padres are in full on rebuilding mode, and both Bell and Adams can fetch a nice haul of prospects for a team that is looking to get younger, cheaper and better all at the same time.
Adams is seem by some as the closer of the future for the Padres, but the job could eventually fall to Luke Gregerson is Adams is dealt along with Bell.