2019 MLB Trade Deadline
Which 5 available relievers could swing the pennant race in 2019? (Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Trade season is here. The 2019 MLB Trade Deadline is just around the corner. The middle of June is the time where teams need to start recognizing where they are in the standings to get an idea of what to do during the July trade deadline. The Yankees, Astros, Twins, Rays, and Red Sox are the clear buyers in the AL. The Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, Rockies, and Dodgers are the cream of the crop in the NL. This time of year, every team wants that one last reliever who can put their team over the top. Let’s take a look at 5 relievers who could swing an eventual pennant race.

Brad Hand

The Indians are probably going to sell. They are already capped out financially and are already out of the race in the AL Central. Hand makes a lot of sense as a piece to move. From an Indians perspective, this deal also makes a lot of sense because they should be able to recoup more assets than they gave up for Hand to begin with. Francisco Mejia is what they gave up for Hand. Cleveland can do better than that since Hand has improved his stock. Hand is affordable making $7.1 million this year, $7.6 million next year, and a club option next year. At the age of 29, the time to move Hand is now.

Hand has given up one home run this year. Only one player (Matt Chapman) has barreled one of Hand’s 443 pitches. The Indians closer sports a 0.88 ERA in 30.2 innings along with a .750 WHIP. He excels at producing soft contact as well.

Felipe Vazquez

This one is a personal favorite of me. Hard throwers in October is a recipe for success. I don’t know why but it’s always been the case. Felipe Vazquez throws heat and has registered an average fastball velocity of 98.1 MPH. Only 4 pitchers in baseball can say that. The talent is off the charts with Vazquez. The Pirates closer has a 2.12 ERA and is punching out 36.7% of batters.

Vazquez has an unbelievable combination working for him. Prime, cheap, and controllable. Vazquez, 27, is controllable through 2023 and will make $5.6 million per year over the course of his current contract. I’m all in on this one. The Pirates are a curious team that’s hard to predict so who knows what to expect from a deal.

Will Smith

The Giants need to blow it up. This team has no young talent and the current roster is old and decrepit. Smith is one piece that should bring back some talent. I’m not sure how much San Fran can expect due to the fact that Smith is a pure rental.

Smith is a lefty out of the pen but has shown an ability to get hitters from both sides of the plate out. Righties are hitting .156 against Smith while Lefties are hitting .192. Smith has a 2.12 ERA on the season as well.

Kirby Yates

The Padres got fleeced for Brad Hand so I’m sure they don’t want to do that again. The problem is they need to trade Kirby Yates given his age (32). Yates’ stock is at its peak. Yates has a 1.16 ERA on the season and a perfect 25 for 25 in save situations. Yates is also striking out 15.1 hitters per 9. That’s an insane number.

The San Diego closer is only controllable through 2020. The Padres need to strike a deal now. By the time San Diego becomes contenders, Yates will be past his prime anyway.

Alex Colome

Alex Colome has been one of the most underappreciated relievers in baseball. Colome, 30, is currently the White Sox closer but has also pitched for Seattle and Tampa Bay. Colome has a 2.30 ERA, 0.695 WHIP, and 8.2 K’s/9. This is a very capable closer that falls under the radar.

The White Sox are coming but they are still a year or two away. Colome only has two years of control including this year. He’s also not cheap making $8 million this year. Colome may not cost elite prospects and that’s a game changer.

Get ready for the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline. It’s going to be a good one!