Well, after watching the Mets and Yankee's bullpens blow leads against their respective arch rivals, it became obvious to me that both teams (especially the Yankees) need upgrades in their bullpen if they are serious about competing in 2009.
The Mets and Yankees are not alone. Come July, there will be a number of teams clamoring to acquire the few quality relief pitchers that can be had on the open market.
So who could/should be available? Let's take a look at 5 guys, who could help out a number of contenders in the near future.
Joe Beimel, LHP, Nationals: At this point in the season, Beimel must be shaking his head. He was hoping for a lucrative, long term contract on the open market last offseason, but instead, Beimel wound up in Washington. While I liked the signing at the time, the move clearly has not impacted the Nationals, who currently have the worst record in baseball. Because Beimel signed a one year contract with the Nats, he will be a free agent at the end of the season and could very well sign elsewhere.
So it's time for the Nationals to decide: should they trade Beimel now or just take the draft picks when he leaves?
If they do decide to trade Beimel, there will be interest around the league. Beimel has a history of getting left handed hitters out, but he has struggled with them this season (5.23 ERA). The Nationals should hold off on trading Beimel for now in the hopes that he raises his stock by improving his numbers in the next few weeks.
LaTroy Hawkins, RHP, Astros: Hawkins is one of the true power arms, who could be available in the coming weeks. Hawkins is a free agent at the end of the season and the Astros are struggling to remain relevant in the NL Central. It makes sense to think that the Astros might try to deal Hawkins away to the highest bidder.
And I never thought I'd say this, but the Astros could receive a nice haul for Hawkins. He has been a valuable set up man and more recently, the closer for the Astros. Hawkins has solid 9 to 24 BB/K ratio and has struck out 24 batters in 26 innings.
In the right situation (ANYWHERE BUT THE YANKEES OR CUBS!), Hawkins could be a difference maker down the stretch.
Scott Schoeneweis, LHP, Diamondbacks: It's hard to believe that the Diamondbacks are already 14.5 games out of first place. This season has been a disaster so far. Plain and simple.
But surprisingly, at least for me, Schoeneweis has been quite good. In limited time (sorta), Schoeneweis has held lefties to a .240 BAA and an impressive 1.42 ERA. If Schoeneweis can consistently get lefties out, then he could be a difference maker for a contender (NOT THE METS!)
But remember, it's been a rough year for Schoeneweis already. He lost his wife last month and who knows whether or not a trade is really in his best interests. I know Diamondbacks management is supposed to think only about the team's best interests, but this might be a special circumstance.
George Sherrill, LHP, Orioles: Andy McPhail is in a great spot here. There are contenders out there who might need a closer (Rangers, Phillies come to mind)-or at least guys who have closing experience. And luckily for the Orioles, Sherrill is one of the few closers, who might be available.
And make no mistake about it, Sherrill has been very good this season. Sherrill is 12 of 14 in save opportunities this season and has a solid 2.66 ERA. And how's this for impressive: Sherrill has held lefties to a .107 BAA this season. If Sherrill is not closing, then he could very well be an effective set up man, especially against lefties.
It's time to sell high, Andy McPhail.
John Grabow, LHP, Pirates: Like Joe Beimel, Grabow is a left handed relief pitcher, who is a free agent at the end of the season and has struggled (.313 BAA) in 2009 to get lefties out. Right now, one would have to figure that his value is not terribly high, despite his 3.67 ERA.
But when you factor in that the Pirates are still not close to competing, it would make sense for the Pirates to get what they can for Grabow. Hopefully, for the Pirates sake, Grabow is able to improve his stats against lefties so that the Pirates can maximize their return for Grabow.
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