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On the block: Relief pitchers

On the block: Relief pitchers

Jose Valverde, Astros
Why he's available: He will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season and will likely to be too expensive for the Astros' taste.

Will he go? Not unless the Astros are out of the race. Even so, there will be a lengthy list of teams likely giving the Astros a call about the player who's led the NL in saves two years in a row.

Where might he go? Most teams that make the playoffs have an accomplished closer, and Valverde could certainly fill that role for any team in the hunt that has problems at back end of bullpen.
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Huston Street, Rockies
Why he's available: Street, like OF Brad Hawpe and RHP Jason Marquis, seemed likely to be dealt a month ago. Now, not so much. Not only has he been spectacular in the closer role, but the guy who would take over as closer in his absence, RHP Manuel Corpas, is dealing with a bone chip issue in the elbow area.

Will he go? The Rockies hope they don't have to think about dealing him.

Where might he go? Street will be pitching for a team with playoff hopes when the deadline passes. That team is jus as likely to be the Rockies as someone else.

Mike Gonzalez, Braves
Why he's available: With Rafael Soriano and Gonzalez, the Braves have two solid closers, who are heading toward free agency at the end of this season.

Will he go? If the Braves fall out of the postseason picture, they'll look to move either Gonzalez or Soriano and maybe both.

Where might he go? The Rays and Blue Jays will be among the teams looking to add a potential closer to their bullpen mix.

Francisco Cordero, Reds
Why he's available: He's not yet, but it would be a sensible contract to shed if the Reds move into non-contending mode. Having an expensive closer is a luxury item.

Will he go? Probably not. Cordero is still in the second year of a four-year, $46 million contract. He is owed $12 million for each of the next two seasons.

Where might he go? It would likely be to a contender that suddenly lost a closer or key setup man to an injury.

Takashi Saito, Red Sox
Why he's available: The one area of the Red Sox that is a bit repetitive is their stack of right-handed setup men. From Manny Delcarmen to Ramon Ramirez to Justin Masterson to Daniel Bard, the Sox have plenty of viable options who can hand the ball to Jonathan Papelbon.

Will he go? It could go either way. Just about every contender will be looking for bullpen depth at the deadline, and the Red Sox are one of precious few teams who any they can part with.

Where might he go? The Rangers had talks with the Red Sox earlier in the season about Saito, so they remain a possibility. With Saito's experience as a closer, he will attract interest from virtually every team looking to upgrade their bullpen.

Rafael Soriano, Braves
Why he's available: With Mike Gonzalez and Soriano, the Braves have two solid closers, who are heading toward free agency at the end of this season.

Will he go?If the Braves fall out of the postseason picture, they'll look to move either Gonzalez or Soriano and maybe even both.

Where might he go? The Rays and Blue Jays will be among the teams looking to add a potential closer to their bullpen mix.

Eddie Guardado, Rangers
Why he's available: The Rangers have another left-hander in the Minors in A.J. Murray who could fill his left-handed role. Or they could use right-hander Neftali Feliz.

Will he go? He has been hot-and-cold on the mound but has experience and savvy.

Where might he go? He could be a left-handed reliever for somebody.

LaTroy Hawkins, Astros
Why he's available: He's a veteran relief pitcher who still throws hard and he proved he can close games when he saved nine for the Astros when closer Jose Valverde was injured.

Will he go? Depends on the standings, but considering the Astros traded a low-level prospect to get him last year they might be able to get something better in return.

Where might he go? Any team in need of a closer or an experienced setup man will probably be giving the Astros a call.

Phil Hughes, Yankees
Why he's available: Hughes is coming into his own as a Major League pitcher, impressing in relief, but his real future is as a starting pitcher. The Yankees cannot offer him that opportunity now unless something changes with their rotation.

Will he go? Probably not. The Yankees balked at including Hughes in a deal for Johan Santana in 2007, and their opinion of his value has not changed. But Brian Cashman has received calls inquiring on Hughes.

Where might he go? Any big-league organization would be well-served to get their hands on a pitcher like Hughes if at all possible. The Yankees know this and aren't going to part with him easily.

Octavio Dotel, White Sox
Why he's available: The hard-throwing right-hander is in the second year of a two-year, $11 million deal and probably doesn't figure into the future bullpen plans for the White Sox. A veteran pitcher who can get a strikeout with the game on the line late in the contest, Dotel fully expects to be moved if the White Sox fall out of contention.

Will he go? The White Sox have one of the best bullpen finishing kicks in baseball, with Dotel, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink and closer Bobby Jenks. But they also have young hurlers such as Jhonny Nunez who can fill his spot in the future, so Dotel would be the most likely to be moved.

Where might he go? Any playoff contender in need of late-inning relief help, from the seventh through the ninth, should have interest.

Clay Rapada, Tigers
Why he's available: He's an intriguing sidearming lefty who has never quite found a role in Detroit.

Will he go? Possible, if part of a larger package for a proven hitter.

Where might he go? Nothing clear; Tigers wouldn't deal him on his own, and he wouldn't attract much help by himself.

Scott Elbert, Dodgers
Why he's available: Mainly because you have to give something to get something. He's only pitched relief in the big leagues, but he was drafted in the first round to be a starter.

Will he go? Only if he can bring an established starter in return.

Where might he go? To any club that likes the thought of a hard-throwing left-handed former No. 1 pick.

Danys Baez, Orioles
Why he's available: Baez will be a free agent, and the Orioles aren't likely to re-sign him.

Will he go? If Baez can maintain his effectiveness, there's a good chance he'll be dealt elsewhere.

Where might he go? Perhaps the Marlins, the Dodgers or some other team in need of relief.

David Weathers, Reds
Why he's available: He isn't but is playing under a reasonable one-year, $3.9 million contract and he can be a free agent at season's end if his $3.7 million option is bought out for $400,000. He would bring a team a lot of experience.

Will he go? Only if the Reds stop contending. He's a key late-inning force in a successful bullpen.

Where might he go? Just about any team that could use bullpen help.

Ron Mahay, Royals
Why he's available: At 38, Mahay is the oldest player on the club and he's coming up on free agency.

Will he go? If he can prove that he's over the heel problem that slowed him late last season, he could spark interest because he can certainly be effective when healthy.

Where might he go? A club that needs a versatile reliever; he's not just a lefty specialist and can go long or short.

Brian Stokes, Mets
Why he's available: If and when the rotation becomes settled, the presence of Fernando Nieve, John Maine, Tim Redding and Oliver Perez may overflow into the bullpen and make Stokes available.

Will he go? Only if all the starters are in place and functional and his performance is inconsistent.

Where might he go? Every club can use a hand in the bullpen

Ron Villone, Nationals
Why he's available: Villone is having one of the best seasons of his career, and the Nationals are hoping they can get a pitching prospect in return.

Will he go? Most likely because contenders are always looking for left-handed relievers for the pennant stretch.

Where might he go? The Mets are always looking for relievers, and Villone may be a good fit there.

Alfredo Aceves, Yankees
Why he's available: Aceves came into camp as a long relief candidate and started at Triple-A. He filled a setup role briefly for the Yankees but has been supplanted, and now is somewhat lost in the mix.

Will he go? Aceves could definitely draw interest from a team as a back-end rotation candidate to bolster a stretch run, and the Yankees do not have much invested in him.

Where might he go? With a variety of pitches and experienced polish, Aceves could fit nicely and find success in a big-league rotation, perhaps in the National League.

Sean Green, Mets
Why he's available: Inconsistency has made Green less valuable than the Mets thought he'd be. If and when the rotation becomes settled, the presence of Fernando Nieve, John Maine, Tim Redding and Oliver Perez may overflow into the bullpen and make Green available.

Will he go? Only if all the starters are in place and functional and his performance isn't up to par.

Where might he go? Every club continually looks for new bullpen arms. And Green certainly has had his moments.

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