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Insider Only Pirates Trade Deadline Buzz: Tazawa among intriguing right handed reliever targets

With the MLB Trade Deadline three days away, a top priority for GM Neal Huntington is adding a right handed reliever to solidify the bullpen. Here are five names to watch leading into Friday’s Deadline:
Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox
Age: 29 | Contract Status: 2015: $2.25 million | 2016: Arbitration Eligible | 2017: Free Agent |
Tazawa is a name starting to surface in Pirates circles. The 29 year old boast a 42/7 K/BB Ratio, and has a 2.81 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Tazawa’s K/BB ratio has been phenomenal in his career (198/44), including 64/17 in 2014 and 72/12 in 2013. During the Red Sox 2013 World Series run, Tazawa boasted a 1.23 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 7 1/3 innings. Tazawa is affordable, under team control through the 2016 season. A Huntington type of reliever.
Jim Johnson, Atlanta Braves
Age: 32 | Contract Status: 2015: $1.6 million | 2016: Free Agent |
The 32 year old is cheap with a $1.6 million salary, has 20 holds and 9 saves to go with a 2.11 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 32/9 K/BB ratio. Johnson has rebounded after a disaster 2014 season.

Kevin Jepsen, Tampa Bay Rays
Age: 31: | Contract Status: 2015: $3.025 million | 2016: Arbitration eligible | 2017: Free Agent |
The Pirates have strong interest in Jepsen who is under team contract for one more season. The right hander has a 33/19 K/BB ratio with a 2.88 ERA, and 1.30 WHIP.
LaTroy Hawkins, Colorado Rockies
Age: 42 | Contract Status: 2015: $2.25 million | 2016: Free Agent |
A Clint Hurdle favorite, Hawkins is still an effective reliever at age 42. On the road, Hawkins has posted a 2.38 ERA and opponents are hitting just .209 against him.
Joaquin Benoit, San Diego Padres
Age: 38 | Contract Status: 2015: $8 million | 2016: $8.5 million option, $1.5 million buyout |
Benoit, a strong setup man, has posted a 2.27 ERA this season with 17 holds, 1 save. The Pirates liked Benoit a lot last season prior to the deadline but he’s pricey with a salary of $8 million, making him an unlikely fit this time around with talk that Huntington doesn’t have the green light to add much more salary.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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