Market Overview: Relief Pitchers
Need some relief? Who doesn't? Especially baseball teams and their bullpens.
Contenders constantly are in search of late-inning help, as we've seen already with the Nationals acquiring right-hander Kelvin Herrera from the Royals last month.
Expect the market for relief pitchers to pick up and stay busy throughout July. Here's the latest on some high-end relievers who could be swapped by the Trade Deadline.
Raisel Iglesias, RHP, Reds
Iglesias is among the most popular names on the reliever rumor mill, and it's not just about his stellar performance -- a 2.48 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 10.6 K/9 and 44 saves -- since seizing Cincinnati's closer role at the start of 2017.
The 28-year-old also is under club control for two-and-a-half seasons at $5 million in each of 2019 and 2020. (He can opt into arbitration after this year, which could see his salary spike some.) That makes the right-hander an appealing option for just about any team.
The Nationals, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, and the Astros, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported, are among the clubs that have been linked to Iglesias.
Brad Hand, LHP; Kirby Yates, RHP; Craig Stammen, RHP, Padres
The Padres have quite a trio of late-inning arms that have been asked about recently, led by lefty Hand.
The 28-year-old might be San Diego's top trade chip because he brings production (2.67 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 11.8 K/9 since the start of 2016), versatility (setup/closer experience) and a very team-friendly contract ($6.5M in 2019, $7M in 2020, $10M or $1M buyout in 2021).
The price on Hand, understandably, is very high, as MLB.com's AJ Cassavell points out, and the Padres likely won't deal him unless they're overwhelmed.
The trade cost isn't quite as steep for the underrated Yates (0.79 ERA, 0.82 WHIP) and Stammen (2.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP), who are controllable through 2020 and 2019, respectively.
San Diego is in position to cash in any of these three, especially while the latter two are hot and healthy. If they do, the Padres could replicate what the White Sox did in swapping relievers for a number of prospects a year ago.
Kyle Barraclough, RHP; Drew Steckenrider, RHP; Adam Conley, LHP, Marlins
The other team primed to pull off a reliever-driven reload, should it choose to go that route? The Marlins with right-handers Barraclough and Steckenrider and lefty Conley.
Of those three, the 28-year-old Barraclough has the highest asking price, as MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. Owner of a stellar 1.21 ERA and 0.80 WHIP, Barraclough seized the closer gig from veteran Brad Ziegler in June and has excelled in the role, permitting just one hit over 12 innings last month.
Steckenrider, meanwhile, is 27 years old, throws in the mid-90s and has a 10.6 K/9 this season. Conley, a 28-year-old southpaw, is a former starter who has taken to a relief role and shown the ability to attack both left- and right-handed batters, having posted a 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP through his first 18 appearances in 2018.
Considering how long these three are under control -- Barraclough and Conley won't reach free agency until after 2021, Steckenrider until after 2023 -- the Marlins certainly can be patient. That said, a deep bullpen on a rebuilding team is something of a luxury.
The Dodgers and Red Sox are among the clubs that have been linked to Miami's trio recently.
Zach Britton, LHP, and Brad Brach, RHP, Orioles
Spot a trend yet? With the left-handed Britton and righty Brach, the O's are yet another club to feature multiple arms with late-inning and/or closing experience.
The duo has struggled some compared to previous years: Britton, 30, owns a 6.23 ERA in his first nine appearances since returning from surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon over the offseason, while the 32-year-old Brach sports a 1.67 WHIP over 32 1/3 frames.
Teams that inquire on Britton and Brach -- the Indians and Astros are among a slew of contenders seeking relief help, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand pointed out -- will be interested in their resumes, with the hope they can regain some of their past performance.
Between the injury/inconsistency concerns and the fact that both Britton and Brach are upcoming free agents, neither likely will require a massive return. But both could help if they find their form.
Blake Treinen, RHP, Athletics
On one hand, Treinen might not be available because the A's have surged above .500 and might have an outside shot at an AL Wild Card spot. The 30-year-old also been a big part of that, thanks to his 0.89 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 10.8 K/9 and 21 saves.
Not to mention, Treinen is making just $2.15 million this year and is under control through 2020, making him an asset even the cost-conscious A's can afford.
On the other hand, all of the above makes Treinen just the sort of piece Oakland could trade at peak value, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi notes -- and to just about any team in the sport.
Jeurys Familia, RHP, Mets
Familia has had an up-and-down season after being sidelined for most of 2017 due to surgery for a blood clot near his right armpit area.
The 28-year-old Mets closer looked great early on, with a 2.08 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 26 innings through May. Since the calendar flipped to June, however, Familia has allowed seven earned runs on 15 hits and five walks across 8 2/3 frames, pushing his ERA up to 3.38.
Given that he's a free-agent-to-be who has shown flashes of his former self and stuff, Familia will garner interest from contenders. MLB.com's Jim Duquette suggested the defending champ Astros as a possible fit. But the shape of Familia's 2018 so far might bring pause and lessen any potential return.