Battle of the Left-Handed Middle Relievers: Randy Choate vs. Tim Byrdak

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIJuly 13, 2011

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 09 : Relief pitcher Randy Choate #38 of the Florida Marlins in the sixth inning against  the Houston Astros in a MLB game on April 9, 2011 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The Marlins won 7 to 5 . (Photo by Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

As the Major League Baseball trade deadline approaches, left-handed relievers are like the hot international import during the offseason. The average fan has no idea who he is, but for some reason, every team wants him.

As this year’s trade deadline approaches, the two left-handed relievers who will be in play are the Florida Marlins' Randy Choate and the New York Mets' Tim Byrdak.

The average fan has no clue who these guys are, but guess what? The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and a handful of other teams will be all over these guys like Jose Bautista on a Kyle Davies fastball.

So if you were a GM of a team in need of a left-handed reliever, who would you want?

Before you make that decision, let’s look at the tale of the masking tape:

Byrdak is having a very solid year for the Mets, but Choate is having a lights-out year for the Marlins. Choate has gotten to the point where if a left-handed batter gets a hit off of him, it’s a surprise.

Choate hasn’t allowed a HR to a lefty all year, and more so, he has allowed only one extra-base hit to a lefty all year. He has a role and he has been doing it better than anyone else in baseball in the first half of 2011.

The only reason a team would want Byrdak over Choate is because Byrdak doesn’t come with a commitment for 2012. Byrdak is on a one-year, $900,000 deal and Choate has a $1.5 million price tag for 2012. However, the teams that would be going after Choate won’t be scared off by $1.5 million.

Expect the Yankees, Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers to pursue Choate and Byrdak as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.