Free agent relievers possible migraines.

The Indians achilles heel last year was no doubt due to shaky and unreliable relief pitching. Much like the 2004 first half team that blew a near record of 25 saves, it didnt matter how many runs the offense put up, the bullpen was bound to give them all right back.

the same problem derailed Cleveland last year and GM Mark Shapiro seemed centered on fixing this problem this offseason. by adding veterans like Joe Borowski, Roberto Hernandez, Keith Foulke, and leftie specialist Aaron Fultz the bullpen on paper looks completely different but its the potential shortcomings of guys already on the team or the newcomers I listed above that could again keep the Indians from being the contender I think they're capable of. Foulke has since retired after only officially being on the team for one day.

Joe Borowski
He's becoming somewhat of a journeyman. Borowski came up with the Orioles and since has been with the braves, yankees, cubs, the devil rays, and spent 2006 with the Florida Marlins. With Foulke retiring Borowski is the likely candidate for the closers job but can fill the role of setup man or middle relief need be. Borowski is coming off of a career year Until last year 2003 had been his best year where he posted a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 2.63 and recorded 33 saves out of 37 opportunities. Over the next 2 years he was consistently injured and only appeared in 33 games with horrendous era's of 8.05 and 6.55. Borowski was placed on waivers in 2005 and claimed by the devil rays where the only area he improved was his ERA. He was still 1-6 with no saves.

the 2006 form is what I really hope Joe can bring to Cleveland. 36 saves in 43 chances and an ERA of 3.75, in the National League is good. He can be a leader. like I said the guy has been around and will turn 36 this may but he is a seasoned veteran that will no doubt help some of the younger arms in the pen. Ability wise he's an average pitcher with his best days long behind him. hopefully the numbers he posted last season werent the last fumes in the tank. This team needs stability and leadership and I think Joe can be that guy. I think I like him the best out of the other free agent pitchers we signed.

Mark Shapiro seems to be falling in love with ex phillies. Last year it was Jason Michaels now this year its relievers Aaron Fultz and Roberto Hernandez.

Roberto Hernandez
Like Borowski, Hernandez is long past his prime and throughout his career has been just an average late innings guy. His career ERA shows that hes at least been consistently average and thats a good thing. I'd be lying if I said I knew where his spot in the pen is going to be but I dont know. I'd have to assume middle relief which is where I feel we need the most help anyway but judging from his save totals the past few years he can close if borowski fails.

The Indians can probably make it if either of them get injured but if both of them go down or just cant get people out, it could be another miserable season. In my mind the biggest problem with the bullpen last year was that once our starter was out of the game there was no smooth bridge between the starter and the closer. it was "starter leaves, bullpen gives up 10 runs in one inning".

Aaron Fultz
Forget the lefty/lefty matchup this guy scares me. The only season he had an ERA under 4 was 2 years ago but thats probably due to him missing 100 games. I can only imagine this guy was hurt last year too. Look at these era's!

2000 - 4.67
2001 - 4.56
2002 - 4.79
2003 - 5.21
2004 - 5.04
2005 - 2.24
2006 - 4.54

The only thing keeping me from disliking this guy right away is that hes actually had a winning record every year but as a relief pitcher his ERA is the main focus. Being a pitcher in the AL Central his ERA is bound to reach at least 5. All I can really hope for is that Rafael Perez has an awesome spring training because he has to be better than this guy. I'm not sure about the status of guys like Mujica, Mastny, or Miller but I really hope they can push Aaron back to triple A. Lucky for him Jacobs field is considered to be a neutral hitters/pitchers park, maybe by some chance he'll do well and my criticism put on hold. I guess I'll give him a pass...for now.