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Olney: Hot commodities in the relief pitching market

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Manny Machado will be the most discussed trade target of the summer in the media, because of his superstar pedigree and because of his impending free agency. But the Kansas City Royals’ Kelvin Herrera could turn out to be the most-talked about among teams, with the highest volume of suitors.

While Machado’s market will be more specialized, with just a handful of teams looking for help on the left side of the infield and even fewer willing to seriously consider the Baltimore Orioles’ high asking price. Machado is the Lamborghini of the summer swap talk; Herrera is the more reliable and more useful pickup truck.

Why? Because Herrera checks every box for interested contenders.cheap nfl authentic jerseys

1. He’s a reliever, and even clubs with great bullpens will be looking to augment theirs. The New York Yankees, for example, are loaded with high-end relievers, but if general manager Brian Cashman doesn't find the type of starting pitcher he wants before July 31, he could opt to saturate his bullpen and target Herrera.

2. He has lots of experience as a closer, as well as a setup man. He’s got 53 saves, including 10 this year.315

3. He’s throwing well. Herrera’s velocity is down a tick this year, but his average of 96.5 mph is still among the best in the big leagues. His swing-and-miss rate of 14.6 percent is the second-highest in his career, and Herrera ranks first in the AL in generating swings on pitches outside of the strike zone, at 43.7 percent.

4. He’s apparently healthy, with a relatively light early workload. Whether it’s because the Royals aren’t winning a lot of games or because they’re working to preserve a valued trade asset, there have been only four instances so far this season in which Herrera has worked on back-to-back days, and only one time when he pitched in three straight games.

5. He’s got loads of postseason experience, from the Royals’ championship runs of 2014-15, and in those high-pressure games, Herrera has 38 strikeouts in 28 ? innings, with an ERA of 1.26.

6. He throws strikes. Lots and lots of strikes. Herrera had 20 appearances through Friday’s games, and he had issued a total of exactly zero walks.

7. He’s going to be pricey, given the number of teams that might ask about him, but he won’t be outrageously expensive, because he’s a free agent in the fall. Whoever buys him will pay for three-plus months of control (including October).cheap nfl jerseys from china

The Royals are rebuilding, and so they should trade him this summer, to recoup maximum value. Kansas City would also have the leverage to inform suitors, with all earnestness, that the Royals could keep Herrera and tender him a qualifying offer this fall, to set themselves up for draft-pick compensation.

But it’s much more likely that sometime in the next 65 days, some rival general manager will decide that Herrera can be a difference-making piece and will be willing to pay the Royals what they want -- just as the Royals paid the extra cost to land Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist during the 2015 season on their way to a World Series title.

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