Chance Ruffin is named
Imagine waiting 18 days before your parents gave you a name. I trust Chance Ruffin’s parents didn’t wait that long to give him a name, but the Tigers and Mariners did. (Then again, when you’re 18 days old, how much do you care? Chance Ruffin is 22, so he’s probably all kinds of annoyed that nobody wanted to give him a name. I suppose they can say it’s his own fault for waiting until the signing deadline last year to put that name on a contract.) Anyway, Ruffin is now officially the player who was to be named later from the Fister-Pauley-Wells-Furbush-Martinez trade.
Ruffin comes straight into the bullpen, taking the place of Aaron Laffey, who has been designated for assignment. Laffey has looked pretty bad lately, and the team seems to have soured on him. This leaves them without a left-hander in the pen (Ruffin is right-handed), but Laffey wasn’t really a lefty specialist, and lefty specialists are overrated.
Guys who now figure to be part of the bullpen to start off 2012, based on the current roster: Ruffin, Brandon League (if he isn’t traded), Shawn Kelley, Josh Lueke, maybe Dan Cortes. There’s enough flexibility that some low-cost spring training invites could work their way in, but the existing base is enough that nobody should have delusions that signing free-agent relievers is a big priority for the offseason.