Jonathan Papelbon certainly set the bar high for other free agent closers this offseason. Now that he has signed his mega-deal with the Phillies, Troy Renck of the Denver Post says the trade market for Rockies’ closer Huston Street is beginning to develop. Renck reports that teams such as the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers may have interest in trading for Street this winter.
There are multiple teams in the market for a closer this offseason, but many are not going to want to dish out the kind of deals some of the top free agent finishers will require. While there is a lot of depth to the 2012 class of closers, names such as Ryan Madson, Heath Bell and Francisco Rodriguez figure to receive substantial multi-year contracts this winter.
The Blue Jays have already said that they were shocked by the asking price of closers and their agents. With the volatility of relievers, Toronto and other teams are understandably hesitant to hand out long and costly deals to free agent relievers.
This is where Street comes in. Next season, the 28-year-old is set to make $7.5 million for the Rockies. In 2013, Street’s contract includes a mutual option for $9 million that includes a $500,000 buyout. If a club is able to trade for Street this winter, they would only be on the hook for one year and $8 million.
This not only appeals to teams looking for closer help on the cheap, but also to the Rockies. Colorado hopes to clear salary this winter in order to pursue either a starting pitcher or an impact bat. Free agent Grady Sizemore has been linked to Colorado, and the Rockies have reportedly explored a trade with the Atlanta Braves for second baseman Martin Prado.
Another reason the Rockies would be willing to move Street is Rafael Betancourt. Following Street’s injury at the end of last season, Betancourt converted eight of his nine save opportunities. The 36-year-old also only surrendered a single earned run over his final 30 appearances of the 2011 season.
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