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The Quest For Relief: Scratch Wheeler Off the List

One of the more unexpected news items from yesterday was Tampa Bay trading Ty Wigginton to Houston for Dan Wheeler. As a middle reliever with closing experience, Wheeler figured to be a rather coveted trade target by several of the contending teams looking for bullpen help.

So would you have expected Wheeler to be traded to the Devil Rays? From the DRays standpoint, it's surely nice to see them make a trade for a major leaguer, rather than another prospect who could or might be able to contribute to the big league club. And with the young position player talent they already have, getting some quality pitching was the clear next step for the organization.

Would the DRays try to flip Wheeler to another team at the trade deadline? Well, probably not, since they needed a dependable closer. But maybe this makes Al Reyes even more available to any team in need of a reliever. (Are the Tigers interested?)

Why did the Astros want Wigginton? As Richard Justice explains, Houston needs a serviceable third baseman right now, and this allowed them to end the delusion that Morgan Ensberg can be an everyday player for them at that position. This would also seem to be a precursor to trading Mark Loretta, a player several teams (including the Tigers) are interested in as a utility infielder.

Perhaps most importantly, as far as the Tigers are concerned, this probably means that Houston is done trading relievers. Brad Lidge and Chad Qualls are likely off the market now, unless the Astros get an offer they just can't refuse.