Where To Shop Jason Isringhausen
K-Rod is gone and we’ve covered Carlos Beltran. Next on the trading block is Jason Isringhausen, who has proven to be healthy and effective in a setup role for the Mets. Do you know how many teams can use an effective middle- / late-inning reliever? About 29.
The fact the Mets picked up Izzy for virtually nothing and have turned him into a trading chip is to be commended — but it’s also time to trade in that chip. Considering the dearth of decent relief pitching available, I truly believe that a postseason-contending team would be willing to give up a decent prospect for a reliable setup man such as Isringhausen. Maybe not a top-ten prospect, but possibly a top-15, and at worst a top-20. And a top-20 prospect would be welcome indeed in return for a 38-year-old reliever whose contract expires at the end of the year.
So where might the Mets shop Izzy? Here are a few possibilities:
The addition of K-Rod was only the beginning of what should be a bullpen reconstruction in Milwaukee. With an injury to Carlos Gomez, the Brew Crew is also in the market for a centerfielder. Might they be interested in a package consisting of Izzy and Angel Pagan?
How desperate are the Phillies to improve their bullpen? They just signed Aaron Heilman to a minor-league contract. As everyone knows, they also need a big bat in the outfield. The Mets can help them in both areas with Izzy and Carlos Beltran. The Mets might have to send some cash along, but if they do, it could result in them obtaining two or possibly three near-ready youngsters. Do I care if the Mets help the Phillies win a pennant? Not really — especially considering that both Izzy and Beltran would likely be on another team next year. It would be similar to the Turk Wendell / Dennis Cook deal of ten years ago, in that it wouldn’t cause nightmares for years to come.
The D’Backs bullpen is the weakest link on team with a valid shot to overtake the Giants and win the NL West. They’re so desperate that Yhency Brazoban was in their ‘pen recently. Also, J.J. Putz is returning from the DL with — guess what? — an elbow injury. But what if that elbow keeps barking? Izzy would provide excellent insurance and fit right in as a 7th/8th inning man.
It would be ironic to see Isringhausen return to St. Louis, but it certainly would make sense. After releasing Ryan Franklin, the Cards found a gem of a replacement in Fernando Salas, and the hard-throwing combo of Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte has fared well in bridging the gap. However, the rest of the ‘pen has been inconsistent and a revolving door, and manager Tony LaRussa likes to have as many options as possible. He and pitching coach Dave Duncan know Izzy as well as anyone, and would welcome him back to St. Louis.
The Rangers’ starting pitching is good enough, and they have a lights-out closer in Neftali Feliz. However, the bridge in between is shaky, and could be the vulnerability that allows the Angels to sneak past them. Texas might also be in the market for a power-hitting outfielder, so one might wonder if they’d be interested in a package deal that also included Carlos Beltran.
It’s hard to figure whether the Rays are buyers or sellers; some suggest that they could be both. If they choose to upgrade, it most likely will be in the bullpen. Izzy has a contract that fits their tiny budget and there’s no commitment beyond this season, so they could be interested. However, it may be tough to extract anything of value from their farm system, which is deep but highly protected.
Surely there are other teams that might be interested in Jason Isringhausen’s services. Provide your examples in the comments.