There has been some good conversation about possible young starting pitchers to target. With the well documented struggles of the Rangers' bullpen, relief pitching is something to look at as well. Daniel Bard was the only real relief prospect from the previous post, with Sean Marshall possibly falling into that category down the road as well. Most people feel like signing free agent bullpen arms to high dollar and/or long term contracts is a very dicey proposition and I would agree with that. Most contending teams are always looking to improve their pens at the deadline, which can inflate the reliever market, but there are some guys the Rangers could/should inquire on.
Calero has been struggling with a shoulder injury and logged only 4.2 innings for the A's this year. He has sported decent walk rates throughout his career and logged 174 innings from 2005-2007.
Bautista is a hard thrower, but his K rate is down, his walk rate is up, and his GB rate is down. He probably isn't a more viable option than anything the Rangers already have in house.
Update: Bautista has been traded to the Pirates Hat tip to Firebat
Shawn Chacon 30-yr old RHP, Houston Astros
Chacon had a nice start in the rotation for the Astros this year, but has regressed over his last few starts. He was recently bumped from the rotation to the pen, and does not appear to be happy about it. He has had success in the pen before, as Colorado's closer, and as Pittsburgh's 8th inning guy last year. Not sure you want to go after a guy who doesn't want to be in the pen though.
Update: Shawn Chacon choke slammed Ed Wade
Ramon Ramirez 26-yr old RHP, KC Royals
Ramirez has put together a very nice season with a nice walk rate to go with a solid K rate and GB rate. The Royals could hang onto him or look to move him when Leo Nunez comes off the DL. He would require a decent return, but is a young arm who has shown the willingness and ability to go after hitter.
Jon Rauch 29-yr old RHP, Washington Nationals
We saw first hand how bad the Nationals bullpen is, but Rauch has been the exception. His walk rate is exceptional and he is an intimidating presence on the mound at 6'11". Should the Nationals shop him (which many people think they will) he will be one of the more sought after arms on the market. That may keep the Rangers from getting too involved, given the propensity to overpay for relievers at the deadline. But, he is definitely someone who would fit the bill as a solid reliever who doesn't walk people.
Aaron Heilman 29-yr old RHP, NY Mets
There have been some indications that Heilman will hit the market. Some teams may see him as a guy who could be switched back to starting while some would keep him in the pen. He is struggling this year, but has been solid over the course of his career. The Mets have other bullpen arms they could shop (Feliciano, Sanchez, Schoeneweis) but Heilman is the guy most people expect to be moved. The Mets outfield is a joke right now outside of Beltran and they are getting very little from Delgado at 1B. Heilman could be in fairly high demand, but is a guy the Rangers supposedly asked for as part of a package for Padilla this past winter.
Matt Capps 24-yr old RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Capps is in the middle of his 3rd straight very nice season for the Pirates. Of course, the Pirates have no real need to shop him and they could ask for a significant return. But, the guy has posted exceptional walk rates his entire professional career and could be a highly sought after arm as he approaches arbitration and then free agency given the Pirates MO of moving those type of guys. Capps would be a phenomenal addition to the pen, but a difficult guy to get, and a guy the Pirates may not be ready to talk about just yet.
Heath Bell 30-yr old RHP, San Diego Padres
Bell's name has come up in conversations around here a few times over the past year. He has turned into a nice bullpen arm for the Padres and they may decide they would like to hang on to him to take over for Hoffman. If he does hit the market, he could garner some interest from some contending teams looking to improve their pen and be pushed right out of the market the Rangers are willing to operate in.
Cla Meredith 25-yr old RHP, San Diego Padres
Meredith has seen most of his numbers go in the wrong direction since bursting onto the scene as a 23 year old in 2006. He is still young and his walk rate is still nice, though it has jumped each of the last 2 years. If Bell is priced out of the Rangers' market, Meredith could be a very nice fall back option if the Padres go into firesale mode as some expect them to do.
Manny Corpas 25-yr old RHP, Colorado Rockies
Corpas came up in 2006 as a well thought of relief prospect and posted a solid 2006 and a very good 2007. 2008 has not bee kind to Corpas and he is currently sporting a 6.25 ERA. His K rate is down and his walk rate is up. He is getting hit a higher clip as well. The Rockies are having a bad year, but are in an awful division and have last year's run fresh in their minds which may keep them from selling off a guy like Corpas. But, rumors are flying about Brian Fuentes, Matt Holliday, Garret Atkins, and others, so they are at least a team willing to listen.
James Brent Cox 24-yr old RHP, Scranton Yankees (NYY AAA affiliate)
The former Longhorn pitcher has recovered after missing 2007 and been through High-A, AA, and is now pitching very well at AAA. Now that Joba has moved to the rotation, the Yankees may just be waiting to promote Cox. But, the Yankees have a lot of young arms behind him, Mariano pitching brilliantly ahead of him, and may view him as a guy who could help bring back a piece that could push them past TB and Boston. If the Yankees make a run at Millwood, Padilla, or anyone else the Rangers have, Cox should be a part of the deal.
These 2 guys will probably be traded (if they are in fact dealt) for more than they would be worth to the Rangers.
Key Free Agents after this Season: Damaso Marte, Brandon Lyon, Al Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez, Kerry Wood
This was a little more obscure as compared to the Starting Pitching Targets, but I gave it a shot. Same drill; Any interesting names? What is a fair deal for them? Who did I leave out?
Chad Bradford 33-yr old RHP Baltimore Orioles
Bradford is a familiar face from his days with the A's. He has put up good numbers most everywhere he has been. He is a key part of the O's pen and they are still kind of hanging around. I couldn't find the article (didn't look that hard) from Ken Rosenthal saying he would be available but it makes sense. If you are looking for consistency:
Bradford's GB rate in 2006- 65% GB rate in 2007-65% GB rate in 2008-65%
His walk rate in 2006- 5.2% BB rate in 2007- 5.5% BB rate in 2008- 5.6%
Juan Cruz 29-yr old RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
The D'backs may have to do something to get the offense going and Cruz could be a chip they use to try and do that. They have a nice collection of bullpen arms and have an OF that has been awful offensively. However, Cruz's walk rate has been awful. He is getting by because of a 35.3% K rate and a .255 BABIP against. He has good stuff, strikeout stuff, but his walk rates could mean more of the same as far as the Rangers' bullpen goes.
Vinnie Chulk 29-yr old RHP DFA'd by SF Giants
Clark just pointed this out in the Tejeda thread, but the Giants just DFA'd Chulk. Chulk has had an ok season but has been scored on of late. He is by no means a strikeout pitcher and relies on not walking people and allowing his defense to make plays behind him. His flyball tendencies may be a bit of a red flag at RBPIA, especially given the fact that he doesn't K many people. He would also require a roster move if he is acquired via trade or a waiver claim. The fact that he exhibits good control is a plus, but he may not represent enough of an upgrade over any in house options to justify a place on the 40 man.