Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, your first rosterbation post of the regular season, 2013:
The Braves currently have a number of relievers on the DL, two of whom are friending Dr. James Andrews on Facebook, so we're hearing cries of panic across Braves fandom for relievers. So what's really out there? I'll try to go team by team with some options - for this exercise, I used teams who are in 4th or 5th place in their division, and/or under .500, and/or >5 games back:
Bullpen arms of interest: Ernesto Frieri, Ryan Madson, Scott Downs, Sean Burnett
Interest: Frieri would look good with a Tomahawk across his chest (and I mean that in the kindest way possible), but he'll cost an arm and a leg, and his 6.8 bb/9 and 1.4 hr/9 numbers scare me. Madson's not even come back yet from injury, but his contract is fairly reasonable. Downs is a very solid lefty, but he is earning $5M this season. Burnett could be interesting as a guy with a grudge against his former National team, a lefty, and a decent contract for this and next season (3.625 this season, 3.875 next).
Bullpen arms of interest: Wesley Wright, Travis Blackley, Paul Clemens
Interest: Wright may be one of the more sought-after bullpen arms at the deadline, and with good reason - he's left-handed, throws solid stuff, and is only in his first year of arby. Blackley's a guy who's left-handed and having a solid season so far, but nothing more than a 2nd or 3rd lefty in a bullpen. I just mentioned Clemens to see that other than his home run rate, he's doing fairly well in the pen for the Astros.
Bullpen arms of interest: Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, Brett Cecil, Darren Oliver
Interest: This team may be blown up as a failure midseason, and if so, the Braves should be after a few of the above mentioned names. Cecil might be most intriguing as a "failed" starting prospect who has really found a niche in the bullpen.
Bullpen arms of interest: Jim Henderson, Mike Gonzalez, Tom Gorzelanny, Francisco Rodriguez
Interest: The Brewers bullpen has been very bad with John Axford closing, but seems to be catching some steam now that Henderson took over that role. Gonzalez and Gorzelanny are overpaid, but could be useful. K-Rod is the intriguing one for sure as he was signed on a minor league deal this year that could pay him around $2M. He might be a solid one-year option at that salary.
Bullpen arms of interest: James Russell, Carlos Marmol, Michael Bowden
Interest: Not a lot going here. Russell will cost too much in players, Marmol is making nearly $10M this year, and Bowden was just DFA'd, so the Braves could just claim him (not that they really should).
Bullpen arms of interest: Kenley Jansen, JP Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Ronald Belisario, Matt Guerrier
Interest: Braves fans may cringe at any of these being options going forward after seeing their club shred the Dodgers' bullpen this weekend, but each has some very interesting points that could be worth trading for. The most intriguing to me would be Howell, making less than $3M as a solid lefty with one of the best Amish beards in the game.
Bullpen arms of interest: Tom Wilhelmsen, Carter Capps, Oliver Perez, Charlie Furbush, Yoervis Medina, Stephen Pryor
Interest: The Mariners are an example of the requirement of at least some hitting to make excellent pitching and defense look good in a won-lost record. Their entire bullpen is full of great arms that are young, fairly cheap, and talented. The most probable one here is Perez, who has found a home as a left reliever, but still has some of the same issues with control.
Bullpen arms of interest: Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, AJ Ramos
Interest: The Marlins have these three and a host more at AAA who throw hard with a fastball/slider combo. All three are cheap, great arms, and would look good in Atlanta, but being in the same division would likely mean a more steep cost, if they're even available.
Bullpen arms of interest: Bobby Parnell, LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon
Interest: The Mets are another divisional foe who has a couple arms that could interest the Braves, but the two most acquire-able in Hawkins and Lyon are veteran, unlike the Marlins. Both have very nice contracts of $1M or less, and both could be acquired for much less than typical divisional trade.
Bullpen arms of interest: Huston Street, Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson, Joe Thatcher, Anthony Bass
Interest: The Padres continue to churn out bullpen arms like a factory. Street will likely be traded for prospects this summer if he stays healthy until the deadline, but any of the rest would make good targets. Thatcher is one that is very interesting as a lefty with low home run rates and stellar control, but he's almost useless against righties.
Bullpen arms of interest: Antonio Bastardo, Philippe Aumont
Interest: Okay, I just wanted to put the Phillies in to enjoy that they're sub-.500 and falling apart seemingly with veteran trades likely coming soon. I would love to see either Bastardo or Aumont with an "A" on their cap, but I would wager Amaro might actually play smart GM and ask for a ton within the division with those two.
Bullpen arms of interest: Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Jared Burton, Anthony Swarzak, Ryan Pressly
Interest: We'll see many of these guys this week. Perkins is the gem here, but he's under a very team-friendly contract and would likely require a large package (yes, I said large package) to acquire his services. Duensing and Swarzak both hold extra value as guys who could go multiple innings if needed.
Bullpen arms of interest: Addison Reed, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton
Interest: Reed is a stud and would cost about as much as we'd want back for Kimbrel, so that isn't happening. Thornton is a lefty specialist at this point in his career, but very solid at that. Crain is the special one here. He's having a great season this year, and he's been very solid. He's making $4.5M this year, which is steep, but he's one of few available arms worth that money on the market this year.
Okay, now that you have your targets, get your towel and rosterbate away!