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MLB Roundup 12/1: The reliever market is heating up

Bullpen moves are being made.

Tampa Bay Rays v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Brad Boxberger traded from Tampa Bay to Arizona

There were a couple of trades involving potential late-inning relievers on Thursday. The first of which involved an AL East rival, with the Rays sending Brad Boxberger to Arizona in exchange for minor-leaguer Curt Taylor. Boxberger has spent the last four years in Tampa Bay’s bullpen, though injuries have shortened a couple of those seasons. The righty has shown some flashes over his career, though, and spent some time as the Rays’ closer. For fantasy players out there, it’s not clear whether or not Boxberger will be given a chance to take the Diamondbacks’ closer job over Archie Bradley, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t given a shot. The Rays, meanwhile, are doing their typical Rays thing in which they deal all players getting mildly expensive. It’ll be a new-look bullpen in Tampa next year as they are also expected to deal closer Alex Colomé at some point this winter. Taylor is a 2016 fourth round pick who pitched to a 3.32 ERA over 13 starts at Low-A last season.

Jim Johnson traded from Atlanta to Los Angeles

The second trade involving a reliever took place a few hours later with Jim Johnson going from the rebuilding Braves to the going-for-it Angels. The Braves got back minor-leaguer Justin Kelly while the Angels also got the remainder of Atlanta’s international signing money, a total of $1.21 million. Johnson is a fine reliever, though he was a little expensive for a rebuilding team and this was essentially just a salary dump for the Braves. He’ll be in the middle innings for the Angels. Kelly is a 24-year-old former 33rd round pick who bounced around between multiple levels in 2017. The interesting part of this deal, and where the Red Sox come into play, is with the international signing money. Atlanta, of course, is essentially banned from the international market for the next few years, so that money is of no use to them. It is of use to the Angels, though, who came out and admitted it was picked up to help woo Shohei Ohtani. We already knew Boston would have competition from every other team for the Japanese superstar, but this helps show just how serious everyone is about putting themselves in the best position possible.