The Summer Shopping Season, Part II

In my previous entry, I narrowed down the Indians' needs to three categories: a reliever, an outfielder, and a backup infielder.

Relievers

Needed: a high-leverage reliever that can augment the Indians' three-man closing committee. Must be better than Tom Mastny.

The options:

(1)  RHP Octavio Dotel, Kansas City
(2)  RHP Al Reyes, Tampa Bay
(3)  RHP David Riske, Kansas City
(4)  RHP Eric Gagne, Texas
(5)  RHP Akinori Otsuka, Texas
(6)  LHP Ron Mahay, Texas
(7)  RHP Joaquin Benoit, Texas
(8)  RHP Chad Cordero, Washington
(9)  RHP David Weathers, Cincinnati
(10) LHP Damaso Marte, Pittsburgh
(11) RHP Brad Lidge, Houston
(12) RHP Jason Isringhausen, St. Louis
(13) RHP Russ Springer, St. Louis
(14) RHP Troy Percival, St. Louis

The above are relievers either having success, or with a recent history of success, and also having the ability to become a free agent after the 2007 or 2008 seasons (with the exception of Cordero).

Let's narrow this list a bit by identifying some immediate problems:

-Both Otsuka and Reyes are on the Disabled List, and the trading deadline is a week away. The Indians are going to need any acquisition to pitch right away, and on consecutive days.
-Eric Gagne has reportedly identified Cleveland as one of the teams on his no-trade list
-Houston ownership has stated that Brad Lidge will not be traded before the deadline.

The remaining options, sorted by WXRL and with contract info in parentheses:

(1) Benoit, 2.938 (5th year)
(2) Isringhausen, 2.904 (2008 TO)
(3) Cordero, 1.953 (3rd year)
(4) Weathers, 1.514 ($2.75M in 2008)
(5) Riske, 1.315 (2008 TO)
(6) Springer, 0.976 (FA)
(7) Marte, 0.672 ($2M in 2008 + 2009 TO)
(8) Mahay, 0.645 (FA)
(9) Dotel, 0.441 (2008 PO)
Tom Mastny, .303
(10) Percival, .245 (FA)

Neither Dotel nor Percival have been on a big-league roster the whole season, which partly explains the low cumulative numbers.

Some thoughts:

-Benoit is the big surprise, and because he doesn't have the name value of some of the others, shouldn't be that expensive.

-Chad Cordero, because of his lack of service time and Bowden's trading tactics, probably won't be worth Washington's demands.

-Isringhausen is making $8.75M in 2007, so even if the Cardinals are willing to trade him, money could become an issue.

-Dotel seems to getting most of the attention, so the Royals will be able to play his suitors against each other. This is especially true if those two clubs are Cleveland and Detroit.

My shopping list would start with Dotel, with Weathers, Benoit, and Springer on the next tier. After that, you quickly get to the point where the marginal improvement isn't all that much.

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