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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.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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