David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates
Another name that probably doesn’t jump out of the page when it comes to relievers in MLB is David Bednar of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Originally a late round draft pick of the San Diego Padres back in 2016, Bednar has certainly carved out a solid career since joining the Pirates back in 2021 and has not looked back since.
This season, he has been totally exceptional as the Pirates closer, approaching almost Josh Hader-like territory. In 37 appearances, Bednar is 3-1 with 18 saves, producing a miniscule 1.18 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, giving up only five earned runs all year, with seven walks and 46 strikeouts in just 38 innings of work. The good news is the Pirates are definitely sellers for the trade deadline, and history has shown they aren’t afraid to trade away their elite closer in their prime, as they have done in the past with Jason Grilli and Richard Rodriguez. Now it all comes down to if the Phillies have the right piece(s) of the puzzle to fit the Pirates’ liking.
Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals
Scott Barlow is another effective relief pitcher that has been playing on a struggling team for much of the 2023 season. Sitting in the basement in the AL Central and often outscored by their opposition by a whole bundle, Barlow has produced some less than stellar numbers this year, posting a 4.89 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, but a lot of it had to do more with the team’s performance overall rather than his individual ineffectiveness this year.
If one took a look at his previous two seasons, he was one of the top closers in the game, with a sub 2.5 ERA and an ERA+ close to 190, while compiling 40 total saves for the Royals. With Aroldis Chapman being dealt earlier in the year to the Texas Rangers, Barlow has become the Royals attractive trade chip as the trade deadline approaches. The good part coming out of his sub-par numbers posted this year is that Barlow may be available at a lower cost compared to others found on this list, allowing the Phillies to save assets for further additions for the ballclub.