I just needed to sit & look at the entire roster of current options to get a feel.

Definitely in

Rafael Soriano
Tyler Yates
Peter Moylan
Will Ohman
Royce Ring* (assuming we don’t get another lefty like Fuentes)

Battling for the other 2 spots

Manny Acosta
Phil Stockman
Jeff Bennett
Joey Devine
Blaine Boyer
Buddy Carlyle

These would seem to be the 6 favorites for the last 2 spots. My assumption is Acosta has to be a favorite for 1 of those spots, considering the way he pitched for us down the stretch. (2.28 ERA, 1-1, 22 K’s, 14 BB’s, 23.2 IP’s)

The other spot is up for grabs among those other 5 guys, and if Boyer is healthy and out of options I assume he may have the best chance… if he pitches reasonably well in the spring.

I am not sure what Stockman’s status is within the organization but he may have a reasonable shot and has pitched fairly well in the minors. Jeff Bennett, like Acosta, came in and did a good job (2-1, 3.46 ERA, 14 K’s, 3 BB’s, 13 IP’s).

Devine will hopefully get a shot but Bobby seems to hate him. I assume Devine will go back to Richmond to start the season, unless he’s absolutely lights out in the spring.

As for Buddy Carlyle, I am not sure why they haven’t already cut him, but I assume they will now give him a chance to perform in the Spring. I don’t expect him to make the team though.

Starting Rotation

Definitely In

John Smoltz
Tom Glavine
Tim Hudson
Chuck James

Battling for the 5th spot

Jo Jo Reyes
Jair Jurrjens
Jeff Bennett
Buddy Carlyle
Mike Hampton*

Like with relief pitching, if we don’t make a move for another starter, like Bedard (and James could go to Baltimore in a Bedard deal?) then we know who the front 4 ar. Assuming Hampton isn’t healthy (safe assumption — MT) the 5th spot will come down to Reyes vs. Jurrjens probably, which is pretty solid.

I think if we didn’t make another pitching move and just went with the current crop of relievers and starters we have, we should still be the best pitching staff in the NL East.

I would probably say the best overall NL pitching is Arizona and San Diego, but I think we are close with both those teams. The D’Backs did land Dan Haren, but then dealt their closer. The Padres top 3 is as good as the Braves, maybe slightly better because slightly younger, but we still have a better offense than they do. Bringing back Milton Bradley and adding Jim Edmonds doesn’t scare me.