Padres' Gregerson, Brewers' Axford drawing interest on bullpen market

The Brewers have already shipped closer Francisco Rodriguez, and John Axford might be next.
The Brewers have already shipped closer Francisco Rodriguez, and John Axford might be next. (USATSI)

Teams involved in the trade market for relievers say Padres right-hander Luke Gregerson may be the best available remaining reliever, and could be the next one traded.

The number of teams looking for bullpen help has shrunk slightly, with the Phillies no longer in buy mode. The number of relievers on the market being discussed may be growing, but not to the extent that prices have been lowered.

The Tigers, Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves and Diamondbacks have long been on the hunt for another reliever. The Braves and Diamondbacks are both said to be looking more for left-handers than right-handers.

The Padres and Brewers remain the most prominent sellers, with the Padres offering lefty Joe Thatcher as well as Gregerson, and the Brewers taking offers on right-hander John Axford and lefty Mike Gonzalez.

The Brewers have also listened on starters Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo, but Gallardo has pitched so poorly that the interest has faded, and the Brewers are asking a high enough price on Lohse that he's no certainty to be traded.

Some teams have also shown interest in closer Jim Henderson, but as of Sunday the Brewers were still saying he won't be traded.

The Astros have been trying to sell some teams on their closer, Jose Veras, and have also listened on left-hander Wesley Wright.

And Jon Heyman reported Saturday, the Angels are now willing to talk about Scott Downs.

Back when the Phillies were still trying to buy, they talked to the Rockies about Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle. The Rockies have also had offers for Josh Outman, but they've been telling teams that they're still not sure they're ready to sell and may try to wait for August and try for deals that would require waivers.

The Tigers and Dodgers have both heavily scouted the Brewers, and the Brewers had scouts following the Dodgers' and Diamondbacks' minor-league teams in recent days. The Diamondbacks showed early interest in Gallardo, but it appears that more recent talks have centered on relievers.

Axford's $5 million salary has scared off some teams, but likely wouldn't be a problem for the Dodgers, and might not be for the Tigers, either.

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