Today we saw the start of one of my favorite times of the year, the final days leading up to the Major League Baseball trade deadline. Scott Kazmir is on his way to Houston for a pair of prospects and Aramis Ramirez gets a reunion with the team that gave him his first shot way back in 1998. That is impressive when I realize I was only in the 5th grade and didn't even know what fantasy baseball was in 1998! With that, here are some names from the bullpen to keep a close eye on as more trades start to roll in.
It has been a long road for Hudson but he seems to have found a new home in the bullpen with the Arizona. After successfully rehabbing from his second Tommy John surgery, Hudson has been a very valuable asset for the Diamondbacks in a setup role since returning. He has amassed a 3.32 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a K/9 of 9.07 through 40 plus innings this season. His BB/9 is higher than you'd like to see at 3.8 but with everyone looking for help in the bullpen, teams will surely be asking on Brad Ziegler's availability and he may get his hand at stepping into the closer's role.
Wait, I was supposed to say Arodys Vizcaino, right? It is no secret that current Braves closer, Jim Johnson has a good chance at getting dealt before the deadline. Though the Braves have played better than anyone expected, they are still building for the coming years. So why Aardsma? While I certainly understand the appeal of Vizcaino taking over at closer, my gut says the Braves may be cautious with him. After all, he has not yet pitched 30 innings at the major league level. Building his confidence as a setup man to prepare him for closing duties next season may be the better route for their future. Again, why Aardsma? Since entering the mix in the Braves bullpen, he has been better than expected with a 2.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a K/9 at 10.69! He is a veteran that has done the job in the past and can allow Vizcaino time to get accustomed to the bigs before passing the baton his way.
While Krod seems to be one of the top closers available and likely most affordable compared to Chapman and Papelbon (and his contract), Jeremy Jeffress awaits his chance. He, as well, has put together a nice season with an ERA at 3.07, a WHIP of 1.29 and a K/9 at a solid 9.22. The 27 year old has been up and down in his career but found success with the Brewers (1.88 era in 29 games) after struggling in Toronto last season. There is a chance Will Smith gets a shot to close out games too but he may be in high demand at the deadline as well.
These are just a few of many names to watch in the near future. Others worth mentioning include JJ Hoover, though, I am not sure a team offers up enough in prospects to land Aroldis Chapman. Latroy Hawkins if John Axford finds a new home. Junichi Tazawa since the Red Sox seem to be done for after losing 7 straight. Finally, Ken Giles who has been eagerly waiting his time behind his unhappy teammate Jonathan Papelbon but everyone knows about Giles by now. Goodluck and happy shopping!