The Padres are receiving the most trade inquiries on back-end bullpen stalwarts Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit, which should come as no surprise considering the seasons they are having and the needs of contenders.
Street and Benoit are not only the Padres' two best trade chips, they may be the top two relievers with reasonable contracts on what might be a thin relief market. Jonathan Papelbon is performing well for the Phillies, but they haven't decided to sell yet and his $12 million salary will turn off most teams. The rejuvenated Joakim Soria of the Rangers is drawing significant interest but Texas hasn't decided whether to sell, and if they do whether he will be available.
Street and Benoit should bring valuable pieces back. Another bonus for interested teams, neither has a no-trade clause. Ironically, both were acquired in good deals by just-fired GM Josh Byrnes, Street in a trade from Colorado and Benoit as a free agent.
A trio of experienced baseball men, A.J. Hinch, Omar Minaya and Fred Uhlman Jr., will handle GM duties as the trade deadline approaches. Those three and team president Mike Dee have been discussing how to delineate those duties.
The Tigers, Angels, Blue Jays, Orioles, Brewers and Marlins are among contending teams thought to be surveying the relief market and are potential landing spots for the Padres' relievers. Among teams with playoff aspirations, the Yankees, Twins and Indians are logical teams to look at the pen market because of uneven relief work.
Street very likely will be the most coveted reliever and he's off to a terrific start, with a 1-0 record, 0.96 ERA, 30 strikeouts to only seven walks, plus 20 saves in 20 chances. Street makes $7 million this year, and the Padres hold a reaosnable $7 million option for him next season.
Benoit is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He makes $6 million this year, $8.5 million next year and the team has an $8 million option with a $1.5 million buyout for 2016.