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Arbitraging the Market: Relievers

Sometimes, you just need a lefty.

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

At last, this universally praised and respected series on mid-to-low-level free agents is coming to a close, but we still have to worry about what's going on down in the pen. Edwin Diaz was a revelation, but Steve Cishek is out for probably a month or two to start the season, and Vidal Nuno was just shipped to L.A., so there's a move or two to make. The team certainly needs a lefty, and perhaps two if you're the sort who wants Ariel Miranda in the rotation instead of throwing gas in the bullpen. They could also use a right-handed arm to provide depth, but with Edwin Diaz, Evan Scribner, Nick Vincent, Dan Altavilla, and Tony Zych all in the mix, that arm is more likely to be a veteran NRI than a noteworthy signing, but we can bet on an arm being in play nonetheless. Unlike in the outfield, infield, and behind the plate, there's some reason to think the team may (or will) need to spend their way to an upgrade without playing in the elite part of the market.

Higher-End Lefties, Non-Chapman Division: Brett Cecil, Boone Logan, and Mike Dunn
Cecil has been an absolutely dominant left-hander since moving to the bullpen full time in 2013, working with a fastball-curveball combo that allows him to neutralize hitters of either hand; plus, he has been a ground-ball pitcher in the past. Logan signed a large deal with the Rockies three years ago, and while his first season was a disaster, his second and third go's were successful, and now he's looking to cash in again. A fastball-slider pitcher, Logan shouldn't face righties, but he'll get paid like a top reliever nonetheless. Another fastball slider-lefty, Dunn has likely flown under the radar in Miami over the past few years, but he's a quality late-inning arm. Dunn will allow plenty of fly balls, but unlike Logan, he can handle right-handers when asked; he's not great at it, but being serviceable is enough when you may need to face a righty in between a pair of lefties.

Lower-End Lefties: Marc Rzepczynski, J.P. Howell, Javier Lopez, and Travis Wood
Because of his 2.95 ERA last year and actual success in 2015, Wood will likely be paid like a higher-end lefty, and the M's should want no part of that. Lopez is one of the true LOOGYs left in the league, and while he can still be effective in that role, it's hard to use a bullpen spot on a guy who'll face less than 150 batters a year. Howell has been quite good for the Dodgers over the past few years, but his ability to induce swing strikes declined with his velocity last year, and going into his age-34 season, there's reason for concern that he's more of a LOOGY now than before. Scrabble is a ground-ball specialist who can induce bad swings, but his control is erratic and his platoon split is rather pronounced.

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In my not-so-humble opinion, the best course of action would be to go for Brett Cecil to provide a late-inning arm to pair with Eddy D, and supplement him with Ariel Miranda, pushing Nate Karns into the rotation (or a bargain signee). However, if you're more set on Miranda staying in the rotation, Scrabble would make for a solid LOOGY in the middle innings. If you can't get Cecil -- which is entirely possible, as his market could get nutty -- Dunn is a more than capable arm at the back end.