Heath Bell looks like one of the most attractive players who may be available at this year’s non-waiver trade deadline. Reports are coming out of most cities saying that team so-and-so has inquired about Bell, but does that mean San Diego Padres GM Jed Hoyer is likely to trade him? Not necessarily. Many GMs will call Hoyer simply to find out the asking price for Bell, many of whom have no interest in actually putting together a deal.
In 2010, pitcher Evan Meek was one of the Pittsburgh Pirates' top relievers. Pitching for a team that has failed to reach even low expectations over the past two decades, Meek emerged as one of the team’s only reliable late inning options. Meek was exceptional all season long. He finished the year with a 5-4 record, but had a 2.14 ERA in 80.0 innings pitched, allowed 35 walks to 70 strikeouts, had a WHIP of 1.05 and opponents hit just .185 off him.
After the Kansas City Royals dealt Zack Greinke in the offseason, many thought the team was up for yet another reboot of the familiar rebuilding theme. Instead, the Royals find themselves with a .500 record and sit ahead of both the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins in their division. A good part of their early success is due to breakout rookie reliever Tim Collins. The small lefty has been solid on the hill and helped his team eke out some of their early 20 victories.
If there were an award for Closer of the Year, San Diego’s Heath Bell would be a top candidate to take home the National League version of the hardware. Through July 24, Bell has been called upon to close out 31 games for the Padres and has been successful 28 times; averaging seven each month throughout the season. In fact, the last time he couldn’t get the job done was on May 26, when St. Louis touched him up for a run in a game the Padres ended up winning in 13 innings.
The National League all-stars have finally broken the streak, and it didn’t even take all 34 roster players to do it. One of those left out of the game was Pirates reliever Evan Meek, who was not only the only Pittsburgh Pirate to be invited to California, but also the first non-closer Pirate to get the invite in over 70 years. Now Meek can say he is an all-star, but is still fully rested for Pittsburgh’s game against Houston on Friday.
When the San Diego Padres take a lead into the seventh inning, consider that game a victory. With the bullpen trio of Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson and closer Heath Bell, the Padres have a triple-threat of pitchers who could all be trusted to close out games. Manager Bud Black has shown that he’s not afraid to use any of the three in any situation, and the Padres are holding onto a slim lead in the NL West as a result.
The trading block is open. There are rumors about a number of players who are being made available by general managers. Among them is Dominican Republic-born Juan Cruz, who currently throws relief for the Kansas City Royals. Cruz, who signed a two-year deal with the Royals in February, 2009 is being shopped around by GM Dayton Moore who is willing to unload the right-hander and pick up salary from another franchise. While no biters have been reported yet, it’s still early in the season.
Career pinballer Josh Fogg’s time in New York is over before it began. The Mets, who acquired the right-hander’s services in January with a minor league deal, was released by the club on Saturday. The report has come from the New York Daily News, citing that Fogg was released at his own request due to an opportunity with another club. Fogg had hurt a muscle in his side and did not appear in any games with the Mets this Spring.
Jason Isringhausen has 293 career saves. He got his first one in 1999 and has been collecting them like stamps ever since. Isringhausen is now a free agent, and is looking for a club to call home. He’s looking for a team whose bullpen needs some help finishing out games as he continues towards a career milestone 300. These two things are not mutually exclusive, and despite some recent arm injuries, Isringhausen may be exactly what some teams are looking for in 2010.
Happy birthday to Octavio Dotel. He turns 35 years old today, and is now in a position to earn himself a very satisfying birthday present. After having spent the last two years with the Chicago White Sox, he is now temporarily without a team name on his jersey. Dotel, a right-handed reliever, has filed for free agency and will now soak in the offers from other clubs – and he will get his fair share of offers.
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