LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even on a day when relievers flew off the market at the Winter Meetings, we've still got a handful of nice selections for those late shoppers, and they know who they are.Things got a little crazy out there Wednesday, so it's probably time to wrap
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even on a day when relievers flew off the market at the Winter Meetings, we've still got a handful of nice selections for those late shoppers, and they know who they are.
Things got a little crazy out there Wednesday, so it's probably time to wrap things up. To help things along, let's consider the five best relievers still on the market:
1. Wade Davis
Best guess: Cardinals, Cubs, Nationals
Davis is 32 years old and has a 0.953 WHIP in 244 relief appearances over the past four seasons. Yes, he regressed a bit the past two seasons, but all that means is that he gives up a couple of runs a month. The Cardinals would love to make Davis the finishing touch on a great offseason. The Cubs are interested even after signing Brandon Morrow. As for the Nationals, he might just be the signing that got them over the hump in October.
2. Greg Holland
Best guess: Rockies
Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich cautioned that he hadn't finalized a three-year deal to bring Holland back. But it's close. Meanwhile, he reached agreements with Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee to create a bullpen that could be as good as any in the game.
3. Addison Reed
Best guess: Nationals
If the Cardinals land Davis, then the Cubs and Nationals seem likely to make a hard run at Reed, who would be the best available reliever on the market. If that's Washington's consolation prize, it's an excellent one.
4. Brandon Kintzler
Best guess: Rangers
While the Rangers have made a pursuit of starting pitching their top priority, they're also trying to squeeze a bullpen upgrade into their budget. Kintzler has proven that he can pitch effectively anywhere late in games.
And finally, Rays closer Alex Colome
Tampa Bay officials appear to be gauging the market on all their players, and Colome seems a near-certainty to be traded. The Dodgers could be the best fit, and after losing Morrow in free agency, they are sorting through their bullpen options.
The Nationals have the Minor League depth to get a deal done. So do the Brewers, but general manager David Stearns is going to be extremely reluctant to weaken a farm system that could keep the Brewers in contention for the foreseeable future.
There's a time to trade prospects for that one final piece, but Stearns is more likely to do that for Rays right-hander Chris Archer. Would he change his mind if he could get both Archer and Colome? Hey, that's why we love the Hot Stove.
It'll be interesting to see how long the top remaining relievers stay unsigned after a crazy day in which five teams built stronger bullpens: Mariners (Juan Nicasio), Astros (Joe Smith), Phillies (Pat Neshek), Mets (Anthony Swarzak) and Rockies (McGee, Shaw and probably Holland).
Here's to one more flurry of action before the Winter Meetings break up on Thursday morning.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.