The July 31st Trade Deadline is fast approaching. The Rockies after this last road series, are in need of help, and lots of it. Will the Rockies be serious buyers? Will they be able to upgrade their team for a 2010 playoff race? What areas will the Rockies be looking at? In the next week, I’ll write a series on the Rockies needs at the trade deadline. Today’s will be relief pitching, and later I’ll look at offensive/position players and another article will be starting pitching.

Right now the Rockies bullpen consists of:
Right Handers : Games IP ERA Batting Average Against
Matt Belisle          45 60.1 2.69 .237
Rafael Betancourt 41 34.2 4.67 .277
Taylor Buchholz     1 1.0 18.00 .400
Manuel Corpas     45 51.0 4.41 .244
Huston Street      14 15.0 3.00 .189

Left Handers: Games IP ERA Batting Average Against
Joe Beimel           43 29.2 2.43 .223
Randy Flores       39 22.2 2.78 .182

In AAA the Rockies also have some players like Matt Daley, Juan Rincon, Franklin Morales, Esmil Rogers, and Matt Reynolds that could help out in the ‘pen. Rogers is being used in AAA as a starter. Rincon has an ERA of 7.79. Daley, Morales and Reynolds are options, but Reynolds is not on the MLB 40-man roster so moves would have to be made to add him.

Names that the rumor mill has generated for the Rockies include:

Kevin Gregg , Toronto Blue Jays, 32 years old, Right Hander .382 ERA
Scott Downs , Toronto Blue Jays 34 Right Hander, 2.45 ERA 1.041 WHIP 3rd in the AL with 19 Holds for the Season
Evan Meek , Pittsburgh Pirates 27 Right Hander, 1.34 ERA 0.894 WHIP
Joel Hanrahan , Pittsburgh Pirates 28 Right Hander, .367 ERA 1.056 WHIP

If you’ll notice all of these are right-handed pitchers. Beimel and Flores have done there jobs as situational lefties. However, it’s the inconsistency of Manuel Corpas plus Buchholz looking shaky coming off Tommy John surgery the Rockies would like to upgrade.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post has said that the Bullpen is the Rockies main focus right now at the trade deadline, and their top priority is Kevin Gregg. He would also be the easiest and cheapest to get of those names besides maybe Hanrahan.

My personal choice would be Meek. Meek is a hard thrower with a fastball that averages 95.1 MPH this year. He also has a slider, a cutter and a curve-ball. In the past he’s thrown a Change-up, but according to Fangraphs he’s not thrown that this year. He’s also the youngest and because of that has the best contract.  All that gives him the highest price tag as far as cost of propects the Rockies would have to give up to get him.

But it looks like the Rockies will be going for the player that will have the most experience as a closer and that is Kevin Gregg.

Kevin Gregg came up through Angels system, and went on to the Marlins for 2 years where he was their closer, getting 61 saves over those 2 years. He was with the Cubs for one year, getting 23 saves before signing as a free agent with the Jays where he’s been their closer this season. Gregg has 37.2 innings pitched in 38 games with 22 saves. His ERA in 2010 is 3.82 which is below his career ERA of 4.08. For 2010 Gregg’s WAR is .4 which isn’t bad for a reliever.

Gregg features a fastball, that has averaged 92.5 MPH this year, as well as a slider/cutter that he uses a lot. This year he’s been throwing more of a straight cutter (31.0%) than ever before .

Kevin Gregg has a fairly reasonable contract. He signed for $2.0 million for 2010, with a club option after this year of one year at $4.5 million for 2011 or a club option of 2 years at $8.75 million. There is also a buy out of $750,000 in the 2 year option.

I find it interesting that one of the Rockies main targets is a pitcher with experience as a closer.  Street missed the first two months of the season with injury. He’s been decent since coming back, but he did have his first blown save this week, costing the Rockies a much-needed win. Street’s also not cheap having just signed a new three-year contract that will pay him $22.5 million including this year.

I get the feeling the Rockies are thinking about hedging their bets on Huston Street, if Street becomes an injury risk, a label that many have given Street before he came to the Rockies from Oakland.

What will it take to get Gregg? I never know, but you can expect a couple of prospects at least. The Rockies have several B Type prospects that won’t help the Rockies out much, but could have good careers with other clubs. Assume one pitcher and a position player from the Rockies.

Not So Bold Prediction: Kevin Gregg will be a Colorado Rockie by the end of the week.

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