Entering today the Rays' bullpen FIP was 4.43, middle of the pack, if not a bit below average. The weak spots still on the roster to date are Joe Nelson and Dan Wheeler. A lot of people want some roster moves to get a reliever - a Huston Street type -- but unless Wheeler gets dealt elsewhere -- and I have to imagine if that were going to happen, it would've - you're going to have to settle for recycled unsexy names and arms. The Rays A) can't afford to spend more on payroll, B) shouldn't spend more on the bullpen.
Promote Winston Abreu
Should I beat this dead horse again? I shall. 29 innings, 43 strikeouts, 8 walks, 1 homerun allowed. Look, I'm not suggesting he's going to post a 1.51 FIP in the majors, that would be insane. I would suggest that he deserves a look. Countless teams have passed him over for whatever reason despite solid production and solid stuff. Maybe the guy is secretly a furry or something, but anything shy of that and it raises questions as to why he has less than 40 career big league innings.
Requires some observation:
Claim Jason Grilli
It's funny how things work. The shot Tom Glavine gets released and a pair of fanshots asking for us to sign him pop up. Jason Grilli gets designated for assignment, and there's barely a whisper about claiming him. Grilli is cheap and has successful characteristics. Let's look.
His fastball is moving a bit less than normal, but just about everything else is exactly how it's been the past two years when he posted FIP of 3.89 and 3.24. Right now he sits at 4.22 despite a poor batted ball profile. Maybe he's broken.
Trade for Joel Hanrahan
Hanrahan is awful and Mike Rizzo should trade him for cash. Really though, a 6.84 ERA probably doesn't inspire much confidence from a dwindling fanbase. Much like Grilli, he's outperforming his ERA. Again, a look:
Hanrahan throws hard and he's getting a lot of batters to chase outside of the zone. Think of him as a more successful, less injured version of Grant Balfour before the Rays dealt for him. The Nationals apparently want to get more athletic in any of their trades. No idea who they would want, but Hanrahan is cheap and good.
There are a few other guys who could make nice "challenge trade" type acquisitions and the Rays could always turn a dead-end starter into a reliever. If the Phillies don't want Rodrigo Lopez anymore, throw them a bone for him and give him some middle relief innings. Check into Peter Moylan's medical records, and so on. Cheap nondescript relievers are really easy to find. The names don't have to be sexy to be a fit. Heck, the job sure isn't.