Monday, January 19, 2009

Building a Bullpen

I just wanted to take a look at what Cleveland has done since last July. They, too, had a bullpen that cost their team a lot of games this year. Rather than sitting around sucking their thumbs, they have addressed the issue, and started doing so at the trading deadline (A look back at this past year's Rays' pen suggests building ahead of time is a wise move)

Acquired in Trades:
Zach Jackson*
Jon Meloan*
Anthony Reyes*
Joe Smith

Major League Free Agents:
Kerry Wood
Carl Pavano*

Minor League Free Agents:
Greg Aquino
Matt Herges
Kirk Saarloos
Jack Cassel

*Possible starters

I'm not going to sit here and tell you these guys are world beaters, but nature of relievers is that several are going to have down years or get hurt. Having strength in numbers is key, and the 2009 Central Division favorites have now added several players to the mix to their already young relief corps to fight for a job not only in Spring Training but throughout the season. To top it off, top prospect Adam Miller seems ready to join the team's bullpen. Cleveland will not be hurting for relief help this season.

It seems to me that the Tigers have spent so much time focused on finding somebody who racked up saves between 2002 and 2006 that they have forgotten to address the rest of the bullpen. While there are plenty of players who finished last year in A ball who could be moving quickly, 2009 seems to be a bit too soon for the likes of Perry, Satterwhite, Jacobson, and the rest. There is still time and there are still pitchers remaining, but strength in numbers is the way to go, and the Tigers need to look beyond finding a closer and remember that leads need to be held in the sixth through eighth innings as well.

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