Jackson 5: MLB Trade Deadline deals on Relief Pitchers

By Aaron Jackson

With Rafael Devers getting the call up it seems likely the Red Sox are doing one of two things: they’re either A. deciding to roll the dice in the hopes that their top prospect is ready for prime time, or B. trying to call other team’s bluff by proving that the Sox are set at 3B and perhaps lowering the sticker price on a deadline deal. Assuming the answer is A, which means it’s time to devote more focus to bolstering a bullpen that has struggled as of late. Here are 5 teams that could be willing trade partners at the deadline.


  1. Philadelphia Phillies: We’ve talked quite a bit about Pat Neshek on the show; he’s an incredibly reliable reliever that has been in both the NL and AL over the course of his career. The 11-year vet is having a career best season across the board, and the Phillies clearly have nothing to play for. One concerning note is his relative lack of high pressure playoff experience. He’s only pitched 10 innings in the playoffs, and has two losses to show for it. Luis Garcia is another bullpen arm on the Phillies that is having a career year that could be dealt.
  2. San Diego Padres: The most obvious name in their name is Brad Hand, the setup man who is having his best statistical career with a 2.12 ERA. His career ERA of just over 4 suggests he’s pitching a little bit above his abilities, but this is his second straight year under 3, so it could also be he has figured it out in the majors. Ryan Buchter, a 30-year old in only his second full year in the majors, is also a player of interest. He’s in the midst of his second straight year of an ERA around 3 with great peripherals, though he seems more of a lefty specialist.
  3. Detroit Tigers: This is Dave Dombrowski’s old club, so he has familiarity with the pieces obviously. That said, bullpen depth was always the biggest weakness for Detroit’s title contenders, and Dombrowski was fired, so I don’t know how much of a trade partner the Tigers could be. I do know that their closer Justin Wilson is available, and has had a great season. His MLB career is actually pretty good as well, with a career 3.22 ERA over 5 seasons. Shane Greene, once a started with the Yankees, seems to have finally figured things out too and is having a career year. Certainly seems possible both would be available for a small return.
  4. Cincinnati Reds: Drew Storen was a big name for the Washington Nationals once upon a time, and although those days have faded he has found success for large stretches of time in the majors. It seems like he’s good until a team puts him in the closer role, at which time things fall apart. Given that the Sox don’t need a closer, this could be a likely deal. Storen has been great since moving back to middle relief, with an ERA in the mid 2’s.
  5. San Francisco Giants: Hey, they just took Pablo back, so they must be feeling awfully generous. Hunter Strickland is the first name that comes to mind. He’s been great in his first 3 years in the majors with an ERA in the mid 2’s. Cory Gearrin is another name that would work, at 31 years old he seems to have finally figured it out in the midst of a career year. Plus, they have Pablo back so probably don’t need Eduardo Nunez. We can take him off their hands too! Win-win I say.


Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.