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Cleveland Indians: Early look at the bullpen trade market

(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

San Diego Padres

Like the Orioles, the Padres are on the outside looking in at the postseason picture in 2018. Also like the Orioles, they have a few bullpen arms that will likely be the subjects of trade speculation this summer.

Brad Hand‘s name came up quite often at last year’s deadline, but the Padres held fast. San Diego has an opportunity to add some more building blocks to their improving organization by taking a different course of action this season, but Hand is a long shot to end up at Progressive Field considering he’s owed $13.5 million in 2019-20.

If the Indians engage in trade talks with the Padres, they’d be better suited to target a cheaper option. Craig Stammen is sporting a serviceable 2.14 ERA in 21 innings for San Diego, complete with a 0.95 WHIP and 22 strikeouts. He’s under contract through 2019 at a reasonable $2.25 million, and at 34 he isn’t bringing back any elite prospect packages.

Another tricky potential option in the Padres ‘pen is Robbie Erlin. Erlin got roughed up in his lone 2018 start to the tune of seven hits and five earned runs in just three innings, but in his 11 relief appearances he has been much more reliable, sporting an ERA identical to Stammen’s.

What makes Erlin a tricky addition is that he’s a lefty and the Indians already have two southpaws in their bullpen in Miller and Tyler Olson. Erlin is also still only in his arbitration years, which could make it tough to pry the 27-year-old away from San Diego.

If the Tribe pursues him, however, they could find themselves a multi-inning workhorse for the middle of their bullpen. Erlin has gone 21 innings in his 11 relief appearances.