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Teams needing help in the pen

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A few items out there today that all have a similar theme...

The Philadelphia Daily News has an article on the Phillies' lack of a setup man, and their need for someone in camp to step up in that role. Two of the guys vying for jobs are ex-Rangers...Fabio Castro, of course, as everyone knows, but also Antonio Alfonseca, who is in camp with the Phillies this spring.

Buster Olney, in his list of the 10 most intriguing starting pitchers this season, mentions that pressure will be on Josh Beckett because of the shaky BoSox pen, and it seems likely that the BoSox will be in the market for a reliever or three in the coming months.

And T.R. Sullivan mentions the Devil Rays as a team that is shopping for relief pitching right now.

It is always hard to gauge the market for relievers, particularly in the wake of a crazy market like the one we just saw this past offseason. So I don't feel real comfortable speculating about what the Rangers might be able to find out there.

But look at the relief options the Rangers have right now:

Eric Gagne
Akinori Otsuka
Wes Littleton
C.J. Wilson
Ron Mahay
Joaquin Benoit
Rick Bauer
Frank Francisco
Kameron Loe
Scott Feldman
Francisco Cruceta
John Rheinecker

Loe, Francisco, Feldman, Rheinecker, Wilson, and Littleton all have options remaining.

Mahay, Benoit, Bauer, and Cruceta do not, and likely wouldn't make it through waivers.

And this assumes Josh Rupe wins the #5 starter job, as well...if Bruce Chen or Jamey Wright end up with that slot, Rupe could slide into the pen, making things more crowded.

The reality is, the Rangers are going to be dealing relief pitchers this spring. Maybe Bauer or Benoit for a utility infielder, maybe Mahay for a halfway decent prospect, maybe Loe or Feldman or Otsuka as part of a package for a bat...

But there are going to be a lot of scouts watching the Ranger relievers this spring, and I'm guessing there will be a couple of guys in different uniforms come Opening Day.