This offseason it was clear that Andrew Friedman and the Tampa Bay Rays had some serious holes in the bullpen that needed to be addressed.
In fact, the entire bullpen was one big, gaping hole.
The Rays lost no fewer than seven relievers from their AL East Division-winning squad.
Closer Rafael Soriano, setup men Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour, lefty specialist Randy Choate and middle relievers Dan Wheeler, Lance Cormier and Chad Qualls were all lost to free agency or were not offered salary arbitration.
Every baseball pundit agreed—if the Rays had any shot at contending in 2011, Friedman and company were going to have to work some magic to replace all of the arms that had been lost.
While the jury is still out on 2011, thus far the results have been impressive
While the Rays offseason was seemingly low-key, the front office has shrewdly put together a very productive bullpen on a shoestring budget.
Going into play on Tuesday, the Rays bullpen is in the top 10 in the Majors statistically. This is pretty impressive considering that it was projected to be the most glaring weakness on the club.
Here is how the 2011 Rays bullpen has performed so far and how the Rays front office acquired each player.