Putting together the 2012 Seattle Mariners - without the ability to make trades or sign free agents - has made for an interesting week here, and it's time to cap the process by putting together a bullpen.
Start with the ninth inning, which saw the team open 2011 with 'interim' closer Brandon League, who was only supposed to have the job a month or so until incumbent David Aardsma rerturned some time in May. Aardsma never made it back last season, and League wound up with marvelous numbers - 37 saves and a 2.79 earned run average - on a team that lost 95 games.
Aardsma will start '12 on the disabled list, recovering from elbow surgery. If you want League traded, we can't have him closing games.
So that's the first choice. We can't determine today what general manager Jack Zduriencik will get for League -- if he's dealt - but we can decide whether he's in our bullpen.
If League isn't, who closes? Who sets up? Figure a minimum of six relievers, perhaps seven.
And your andidates are: RHPs Tom Wilhelmsen, Steve Delabar, Shawn Kelley, Jamey Wright, Josh Lueke, Dan Cortes, Chance Ruffin and Jeff Gray, LHPs Cesar Jimenez, Charlie Furbush and Mauricio Robles.
A lot of strong arms to choose from, and unless you keep League, almost no closing experience. OK, let's build ourselves a bullpen - and talk about the choices we make!