The Mariners put the final touches on their bullpen this morning when Cesar Jimenez cleared waivers and was outrighted to Tacoma.
This opened the door for Tom Wilhelmsen to nab the final spot, concluding a remarkable comeback story.
The look of the bullpen will start differently than it will end, with David Aardsma and Shawn Kelley still on the mend. Dan Cortes should make his way back to the team at some point and guys like Jimenez should make cameos throughout the season when someone gets hurt or doesn't pitch well.
Looks look at the bullpen as it will stand on opening day.
David Pauley isn't real special.
He took the hill 19 times last season, resulting in an ERA around four with average stuff and average strikeout rates.
He doesn't walk a lot of guys, so he'll rely on Safeco's big dimensions and his ability to get some ground balls as he pitches to contact and hopes the defense make plays.
He's pretty much replacement level, though being cheap and able to eat some innings isn't terrible for this club right now in this situation.
Jamey Wright has had a good enough spring, coinciding with bad springs by others, to make the team.
Much like Pauley, Wright will rely on pitching to contact and hoping the defense behind him make good plays on the balls hit their way.
Wright will be around replacement level.
Chris Ray signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in hopes of snagging an interim closer's role.
While it appears that job will be handed to Bradon League, Ray still makes the cut.
He served as closer for the Orioles back in 2006 and part of 2007, racking up 49 saves along the way. His spring was good enough it seems that when you add in the pairing experience and lack of internal options that he made the squad.
Ray didn't want Pauley and Wright to be alone on the replacement level train, so he stands to pitch in the same performance.
After coming over in a trade from the Indians, Laffey will be the sole lefty in the bullpen.
The Mariners shipped infielder Matt Lawson, who they got from Texas in the Cliff Lee trade, to the Tribe.
Laffey might be more than a LOOGY, too. Having some starting experience, the team could use him to sponge up a few innings here or there if they are in a pinch.
The team did tell him he'd be used exclusively in the pen. That's not only a good decision, but one that will give Laffey some idea of what to expect, which I suppose is a good thing for a guy to have.
Laffey will probably add about half a win over a replacement player.
In one of the more interesting stories from camp, Tom Wilhelmsen has capped off a pretty impressive story with a spot in a big league bullpen.
At the ripe age of 20, Wilhelmsen gave up baseball after being reprimanded by the Brewers for failing a couple drug tests. While we're not talking steroids or anything heavy, drug use is obviously frowned upon.
Instead of working on his issues, he took up being a bartender and living a pretty mellow life.
The itch to pitch came back, and after fooling around he got serious again and approached Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik for a tryout.
Zduriencik was involved in the drafting of Wilhemsen in Milwaukee, so there was a level of comfort there.
After pitching in "A" ball last season, Wilhelmsen has rocketed to the major leagues, impressing the team with his mid 90s fastball and decent secondary stuff.
If he is pitching well, this is a nice addition. We have to temper the expectations and remember that, though his age is advanced, he's still a rookie jumping into waters never before experienced.
I'll pencil him in for half a win above replacement in his first big league season.
I think, by now, the Josh Lueke story doesn't have to be re-told.
His legal issues will probably haunt him, fair or not, for some time. We may see some interesting reactions to him at home.
Though, there is certainly reason to believe that the mostly aloof Seattle crowds will be more interested in the hydro races on the jumbo tron as he trots out to the mound in the sixth inning.
Purely on a talent level, Lueke is better than most in-house options. He's got good stuff and could add a nice arm to the pen if he's consistent.
I'll put him down for three quarters of a win above replacement.
The most recognizable face in the bullpen to start the season, Brandon League will serve as interim closer.
Assuming the team enters the ninth inning with leads, League will have about a month to build up some trade value as a closer.
I don't know that the team looks at it that way, but with Aardsma hurt, it may be easier to move League as so many teams are searching for bullpen help.
When League is on, he can be really good. I think we all know what pitch he needs to be throwing more often. Hopefully this field management staff does better than the last and gets League to use that great swing-and-miss stuff we saw him use in Toronto.
I have League projected for one win above replacement level.