for all the turmoil in boston this offseason, there is one thing they've done right in the fens -- and that is rebuild their bullpen.
julian tavarez signed for $6.7mm over two years yesterday, following on acquisitions of guillermo mota and rudy seanez. with closer keith foulke coming back after a forgettable, injury-plagued year and mike timlin still hanging around, boston has suddenly positioned itself with five relievers of a high caliber -- decisively ending a lot of the angst that went through boston last year regarding the worst bullpen in the american league. with this lineup, it would not at all surprise me if boston went from worst to best in one fell swoop.
meanwhile, in chicago, while tavarez languished on the market unsigned and the cub bullpen mix still included names like novoa, wuertz and wellemeyer, jim hendry didn't bother to lift a finger in tavarez's direction. the cubs front office apparently remains content with what they have -- feeling free even to move jermaine van buren for a ptbnl -- and what they have is no better than they had around this time last year, which ended up mediocre.
while it still isn't too late to get some help, the field has thinned considerably as the cubs have watched reliever after quality reliever -- dotel, stanton, hammond, hoffman, gordon, seanez and tavarez -- taken off the market since they penned howry at the end of november. felix rodriguez and alan embree remain available, both cheaply. if they seem to represent a risk, dear reader, consider the alternative certainty.