As Kurt pointed out yesterday, it appears that The Shark is going to get first shot at the fifth (or fourth) starter spot. Assuming he wins the position, it’s pretty simple to see what the bullpen might look like on Opening Day...
Some of the roles will need to be sorted out over the coming weeks in Arizona, but these seem to be the favorites to start the year as the relievers.
I’m not sure how people feel about this ‘pen, but I’m unsettled by it if only because of all the new names.
On Opening Day 2008, the Cubs bullpen looked like this...
Scott Erye (15-day DL)
There is only one name on the 2008 list that is going to be on the 2009 roster for the first game: Carlos Marmol. Of course Gaudin, Cotts and Marshall all saw time with the Cubs at some point throughout the season, but Marmol was the only one who was in the bullpen for the entirety of ‘08.
Something about this is very unsettling to me. During spring training last year, I felt very comfortable with the bullpen because it was mainly the same structure as it was in 2007 (except Kerry Wood was the closer and Dempster was in the rotation), but now there are so many unknowns going into this season that I feel like the situation is very unbalanced.
I’ve never spent time in a bullpen (or even pitched a game of baseball in my life for that matter), but I feel that there is a hierarchical structure for relievers that is comforting to fans and players alike. When the players know their roles, they can adjust their mindset properly. Right now though, the roles are unclear...but I guess that’s what spring training is for.
Anyway, as Paul Sullivan of the Trib pointed out a few weeks ago, turnover hasn’t been a bad thing for the Cubs...but this bullpen situation just seems like too big of a question mark to ignore.
As Rob wrote today, there hasn’t been much news coming out of Mesa so far, but I think we are going to be hearing a lot about this bullpen in the coming weeks. Mark my words readers, there will be news.
And maybe the news will be good, and maybe it won’t. I just think it’s ridiculous to sit here an be comfortable with the reliever situation.