The Angels are among the teams looking at Padres star closer Huston Street, who still seems likely to be traded even after upper management expressed a desire to bring him back to San Diego next year.
The Angels are surveying both the starting pitching and relief markets, and Street may be the best fit in a still-developing landscape. There is less likelihood the Padres trade starter Ian Kennedy, who has interested the Angels for a couple of years, and while the Angels would love the idea of Rays ace David Price, they also probably understand there isn't a likely matchup in terms of prospects with which to entice Tampa Bay.
Street looks like the most desirable closing candidate on the market and the ninth inning has been the Angels' one question during a strong first half. They've also scouted Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies, but his salary is much higher, his contract is longer and it includes a dicey vesting option for a third year. Street is desirable not only because he has pitched brilliantly this year, but he also because he makes just $7 million this year and has a team friendly $7 million club option for next year.
The Pirates are said to be among other teams to check in on Street, with the Orioles and Giants mentioned in a speculative sense as possibilities. Both those teams seem more focused on starting pitchers, however. The Tigers have not indiucated an interest in acquiring a new closer and seem content with veteran Joe Nathan at the moment.
While new Padres president Mike Dee said a couple weeks ago that he would like to see Street, now an All-Star, back in a Padres uniform next year, it appears they are looking into trades enough to give the impression that a trade is likely. The Padres have another top reliever, setup man Joaquin Benoit, who's also having an excellent year, and there's some concern about trading both of them.