In today's Q & A Dejan Kovacevic summarizes what he hears from the new management on assembling a bullpen.
Huntington has told me time and again that all the studies he has seen or performed himself show that there is "no magic formula" in trying to predict the performance of relievers from one year to the next. Moreover, he will add, no one can really figure out why, even with all the modern advances in baseball methodology, from analytical to statistically to medical.
At the same time, their approach to this was not a simple throw-it-against-the-wall variety. The pitchers they signed, they think, offer different styles, different arm slots and more power than the Pirates have had in the past, and they are hoping - yes, hoping - that a handful of them pan out with some help from the new coaching staff.
I advocated the throw-it-against-the-wall approach, but I did so knowing that I'm not someone who's qualified to run a baseball team. I admire the get-one-of-each and throw-them-against-the-wall approach of the professionals.
My hunch is that, if everyone expects the bullpen to be really truly awful, they will turn out OK. As Huntington says, nobody knows, so this hunch is pretty worthless.