By Nick Piecoro, azcentral sports
For a unit that last year rated among the worst in the majors and added just one reliever on a guaranteed deal over the winter, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen looks like a potential trouble spot.
But for the cast of thousands competing for relief jobs during spring training, the bullpen looks like a land of opportunity.
As it stands, the only relievers who look assured of positions in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen are newcomer Fernando Rodney, the soon-to-be 40-year-old closer who signed a one-year deal in December; setup man Jake Barrett, who posted decent numbers as a rookie last year; and swingman Randall Delgado, who returns for his fifth season with the club.
Beyond them, there could be four or perhaps five jobs up for grabs, depending on how many pitchers the club decides to carry on its Opening Day roster. That sort of uncertainty likely will create drama during spring training while also leaving open the possibility for change throughout the year.
“I think the bullpen can be very fluid at times,” Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen said. “Bullpens are pieced together in different ways. You can have a bullpen like Cleveland or Kansas City has over the last few years, where you have these dominant guys at the back of the pen sometimes from the get-go. Or sometimes you add those guys in the middle of the year. The bullpen can change, I think, and be a little more fluid than probably any other part of your roster.”
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