Texas needs bullpen help — and who doesn’t? The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jim Reeves suggests Jim Brower (just released by the Giants) along with other moderate risk options.
There’s only a handful of consistently reliable setup men year in and year out. The Angels have a dependable one in Scot Shields. The Padres discovered Akinori Otsuka in Japan. The Yankees rely on former closer Tom Gordon and Cleveland does the same with Bobby Howry.
Guillermo Mota was a terrific setup man for several years with the Dodgers before being traded to the Marlins, where he has lost the closer job and fallen out of favor with manager Jack McKeon. That’s another name to watch.
So has Danys Baez, a particular favorite of Hart’s and Showalter’s. In fact, if the Devil Rays were to decide to unload Baez and former Brewer High School slugger Aubrey Huff in a package deal, the Rangers might even be sorely tempted to let go of one of their highly prized pitching prospects. Yes, even John Danks or Thomas Diamond.
It’s something they would have to seriously consider. That would solve two problems, and both Baez and Huff are young enough to be around here for awhile. But it would take a package of good young prospects, including one of the franchise’s crown jewels.
Complicating that scenario is the fact that Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella went off on the team’s owners in the Tampa-St. Pete newspapers Monday, accusing them of focusing too much on the future instead of trying to win today. It is probably not currently an atmosphere conducive for a trade of solid major leaguers for a package of prospects.
It is, in fact, a seller’s market all across baseball.
“Everybody’s looking for the same thing,” Showalter said. “Help in the bullpen.
“Are you going to give up Michael Young for a bullpen piece? That’s what [teams] are asking for. We’re hoping the price will go down before the trading deadline.”
That’s what makes Brower particularly intriguing. He’s available right now for the major league minimum. No trade necessary. Just sign him.
You’re wondering why, if he’s any good, the Giants simply released him, right? Good question.
It’s true that his ERA is an unhealthy 6.53 over 32 appearances. But that latter number could well be part of the problem.
“[Giants manager] Felipe [Alou] is tough on relievers,” said an American League scout who had seen Brower pitch in the last week. “He burns them up.”