The trading deadline will be here before we know it and now is about the time player movement speculation starts kicking into high gear. The spotlight on potential moves is perhaps more glaring now that it is in the offseason when players pick their next landing spot or general managers converse at meetings about their teams’ respective needs. This is when organizations decide that it’s time for a playoff push or it’s best to sell now, hope for the best and hope the fans continue to support them. The first place Arizona Diamondbacks are no different as there are whispers, as detailed by Venomstrikes‘ own Jeff Wiser that the D’backs may be on the hunt for a starting pitcher. For me, I think the biggest question mark is the bullpen. Enough space (both written and spoken) has been dedicated to shortcomings of the ‘pen, particularly the performances of J.J. Putz, Heath Bell and David Hernandez. When your three main guys heading into the season have a combined ERA of nearly 4.50 on July 9th, you probably need some help.
When thinking about an addition, these four guys popped immediately into my mind. I am sure you may come up with your own and perhaps better selections but since there is endless clutter in my brain, these are the four I got right now. I am not sure if they would immediately close or be brought in just to set up. Given the unstable nature of the D’backs relief outings, any one of them could be closing by September.
Jose Veras-The hard-throwing right hander is having a breakout season as the closer for the Houston Astros. He has 17 saves in 20 chances, a total of 38 1/3 innings pitched to the tune of a 3.29 ERA. He has struck out 41 batters and issued 14 walks, a rather low number considering in 67 innings in 2012, he issued 40 bases on balls. He has an option next year for $3.25 million dollars or a $150,000 buyout. At 32, Veras probably would like some stability as he has been with six clubs in eight seasons. He also will want the chance to be the closer. But that’s for next year. He could greatly increase his earning power by going to a contender and performing well.
Kevin Gregg-This is the perfect Kevin Towers/Kirk Gibson guy. Once described as having “the guts of a burglar” (who comes up with this stuff?) , the veteran will take the ball in any situation and give you a maximum effort even if the results aren’t always pretty. Gregg has enjoyed a renaissance in 2013 with the Chicago Cubs displacing the wayward Carlos Marmol as the team’s closer. He has saved 15 games in 17 chances and owns an impressive 1.78 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. I know fans of the Baltimore Orioles are incredulous that Gregg has been so effective having earned so many boo birds in Charm City in 2011 and 2012. The righty is now 35 and has to be salivating at the thought of going to a team that is in contention.
Francisco Rodriguez-K-Rod is another guy who has found a groove in the later stages of his career. He has saved all nine of his opportunities for the Milwaukee Brewers and sports a sparkling 1.25 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .197 against him and he has put the “K” back into his name with 25 punchouts in 21 2/3 innings. Although he is only 31, there are a lot of miles on his right arm. With so much success on some really good teams, he would be the one who would most likely take over closing duties if he came to Arizona.
Bobby Parnell-This by far is the biggest long-shot and would cost the D’backs the most in terms of quality of player(s) being sent back. After years of teasing, Parnell has firmly established himself as the closer of the New York Mets. He has 16 saves in 19 chances and is holding opposing batters to a .190 average. Even though it appears the Mets will finish no better than .500, there hasn’t been a whole lot of talk of trading Parnell. With New York playing some great ball as of late, there could be a willingness to hold onto him as the team improves. One would think that if the Amazins were to deal the fireballer, they would want a top prospect such as Tyler Skaggs in return. If I am the GM of the D’backs, there is no way I make that deal.
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