This is the first in a series of posts looking at possible trade targets for the Boston Red Sox in the days leading up to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. This is part one, looking at three left-handed relievers said to be available.
Brian Fuentes is a left-handed reliever who currently serves as the Rockies' closer. He has also served in that role in the past, racking up 30 saves in 2005 and '06. He will be a free agent after this season.
Positives: By almost any metric, Fuentes would immediately become the second-best reliever in the Red Sox' beleaguered bullpen. After a poor 2007, his strikeout numbers have rebounded. Lefthanded batters are OPSing .427 against him.
Negatives: The obvious one is cost - all three of these guys are coveted by nearly every team still in contention, which could set off a bidding war. More specific to Fuentes, he isn't exactly the picture of consistency - he allowed seven runs in ten innings in June, and last year he lost the closer role to Manuel Corpas.
Damaso Marte is a left-handed reliever for the Pittsburgh Pirates. According to Cot's, the Pirates hold an option on his contract for 2009 for $6 million (!) with a $0.25 million buyout.
Positives: Marte is a situational guy, who's been tough on lefties in his caree, holding them to a .198 average...
Negatives: ...except in 2008 he's actually had a weird reverse split. Forgive us for pulling a Joe Morgan here, but we haven't been following the Pirates closely enough to determine if this can be attributed to anything, or if it's just a sample-size-related fluke. Also there are smart people running the Pirates these days.
Ron Mahay is a lefthanded reliever for the Kansas City Royals. He was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox. He is currently under contract for 2009 ($4 mil).
Positives: In the midst of his best season at age 37. Seventh in the league in wins added by a reliever. (Subscription-only link). And he's doing it in the tougher American League.
Negatives: He's probably due to regress for the rest of the year. But might a regression to the mean still make him an improvement over Delcarmen, Hansen, Timlin, or even Okajima?