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Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Trade talk: Bullpen help

By Richard Durrett

After Neftali Feliz's blown save and the Rangers' inability to hold a lead late when they went to the bullpen last night, many of you are wondering if the Rangers will end up getting an arm prior to Sunday's 3 p.m. trade deadline. No doubt, that remains the club's top priority.

We've discussed Heath Bell, perhaps the biggest name of that group on the market. A few other random notes when it comes to bullpen help:

* Deals like this won't likely get done until the weekend. The sellers want to hold out on their top price as long as they can and the buyers have enough options where they can afford to wait and see if the price drops.

* Teams with trade chips that are under team control past this season are holding very valuable pieces. Some of you have asked about San Diego's Mike Adams. He's under control through 2012 (he's arbitration eligible again after this season), which means a team isn't simply trading for a stretch-run rental. Same goes for Tyler Clippard, who has even more years before he's a free agent. The Nationals and Padres, understandably so, would want a package that blew them away to deal those guys.

* Reports out of Baltimore the past few weeks have noted the Rangers have shown interest in Koji Uehara. He needs to appear in 14 more games to vest his contract for 2012, which is $4 million. But he is 36 years old, so durability could be something that clubs wonder about him. He has a 1.80 ERA in 45 innings with 59 strikeouts and eight walks.

* What about Joakim Soria? I'm told the Rangers have a scout in Boston and the belief is he's checking in on Soria. (Again, the Rangers check in on everybody, as they should. You never know what might come up.) The numbers don't jump out at you this season from the 27-year-old. He's got 18 saves and five blown saves. He has an ERA of 3.56. But he's a solid arm that could help the club late. He's got a club option for $6 million in 2012 and $8 million options the next two seasons after that. Price could be the issue as the Royals are going to want a bunch for him and may not be too motivated to move him.

* Andrew Bailey is intriguing. His first year of arbitration is this offseason, so he'll get a huge raise but won't be a free agent until after the 2014 season. He could close next season if the Rangers choose to move Feliz to the starting rotation. But because he's in the division, would the A's insist on the Rangers paying even more to get him? Do the Rangers want to trade some of their higher-rated prospects in the division? And is there any concern of injury (he was on the DL earlier this year with a forearm strain.

Jon Daniels has said for the last month that the bullpen was his top priority, though he'd look at any way to improve the club (see Carlos Beltran). But these deals usually don't come down until the clock gets close to hitting zero. So we'll wait and see.

Any particular bullpen piece you'd like to see the Rangers get? Tell us why.