ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 4: Reliever Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 4, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 5-4 in 12 innings. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Relievers all around the league are starting to garner interest as the trade deadline nears, especially veterans like the Cubs' Kerry Wood, Twins reliever Matt Capps, and Padres closer Heath Bell. All three pitchers are in unique positions with their current clubs, but that is not to say teams are not chomping at the bit to fortify their 'pen for the second half.
Wood is 1-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 appearances with the Cubs this season, and has posted a 1.47 ERA in his last 48 appearances (24 with the Yankees from '10). Wood signed at a bargain rate to return to Chicago, but the Cubs' woes and his team-friendly deal may lead to another trade. Wood has yet to consider the possibility, but teams like the Phillies and Diamondbacks are exploring the possibility and are believed to have interest. Wood, however, may be heading for the 15-day disabled list with a blister.
The Twins are 9.0 games out of first place, but have several regulars returning from the disabled list in the next two weeks, including Joe Mauer. One can never count the Twins out, but if things don't drastically turn around for the Twins by the All-Star Break, the interest surrounding some of their players may become too great. The Yankees have already expressed interest in Matt Capps, and one AL source confirmed the team is already "scouring" the market for pitching help.
The Padres are 8.0 games out of first and have a stellar closer in Heath Bell, who has posted a 2.25 ERA and 17 saves in 27 appearances this season. The Padres are already giving some of their young players opportunities, and unloading Bell if things get worse would be a nice way to land a few young prospects for the future.
The market for relievers is expected to pick up over the next month dramatically, could your teams top reliever be on the move?