After the All-Star festivities have ended, the races for playoff spots and division titles are heating up, along with the summer weather. Another common phenomenon of the Post All-Star days are the trade rumors – and it looks like relief pitching is the hot thing right now, with the Tigers, Phillies and Diamondbacks looking to improve their bullpen.
Ubaldo Jimenez, after a fantastic 2010 season (19-8, 2.88 ERA) is struggling, to say the least, with a 5-8 record and an ERA of over 4. That isn’t stopping the Detroit Tigers, one of the worst pitching teams in the AL and the Majors (26th in majors, 4.30 ERA) from scouting the 27 year old rightie in recent games. They can’t be carried by the hitting (4th best in the AL) alone as they battle with the Indians for the top spot in the AL Central.
The Arizona Diamondbacks (49-44, same as the Tigers) are also in the mix for a top spot in their division, 4.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West and six games behind the Braves in the Wildcard race. Their pitching isn’t among the leagues strongest (21st in the majors, 4.09 ERA) and they’re looking at strengthening the bullpen with two players – Brad Ziegler of the A’s (2-1, 1 save, 4 holds and a 1.87 ERA) and/or Jason Isringhausen of the Mets (1-0, 3.14 ERA).
Another team looking for more bullpen quality are the Phillies, despite topping the majors in this category with a 3.01 ERA. They’re looking at a trio from the San Diego Padres – Heath Bell, the Padres closer for the last three seasons and a three time All-Star ; Mike Adams (3-1, 1.29 ERA) and Chad Qualls, a veteran reliever who is been around the NL since 2004 and is 4-3 this year with a 2.60 ERA.