The great thing about the sport of baseball is that you can debate the players, stats, teams, and anything else you can think of until you are blue in the face.

That is what makes baseball fun. No other sport can stir up the debates that baseball can.

However, one thing in baseball is not debatable is that the San Diego Padres have baseball’s best bullpen so far in 2010. From day one they have been dealing, and they haven’t slowed down since.

Padre relievers lead all of baseball in bullpen ERA (2.81), BAA (.214), OPS against (.606), WHIP (1.07), and K/9 (9.7). That, my friends, is called getting it done.

What is more fascinating than how the Padres’ bullpen is dominating hitters is how they came together. The Padres’ bullpen came together as a bunch of throw-ins and cast-offs.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Padres’ 2010 bullpen came to be…

Heath Bell: Traded by the New York Mets in November of 2006 with Royce Ring to the San Diego Padres for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson. Bell has a 2.56 ERA and 81 saves in four years in a Padres uniform.

Luke Gregerson: Sent by the St. Louis Cardinals to the San Diego Padres in March of 2009 to complete an earlier deal made on December 4, 2008. The St. Louis Cardinals sent a player to be named later and Mark Worrell to the San Diego Padres for Khalil Greene.

Gregerson has a 3.01 ERA with 11 K’s/9 in two seasons in a Padres uniform. I think the Cardinals would love to have him back.

Mike Adams: Traded by the Cleveland Indians in July of 2006 to the San Diego Padres for Brian Sikorski. Adams was once released by the Padres in 2007 and no team picked him up, so San Diego picked him back up. Since then he has a 1.84 ERA in 152 innings.

Joe Thatcher: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers in July of 2007 with Steve Garrison (minors) and Will Inman (minors) to the San Diego Padres for Scott Linebrink. The only lefty in the Padres’ pen, Thatcher has a 1.33 ERA in 2010 and has a 3.41 ERA with a 9.4 K/9 ratio in four seasons in San Diego.

Edward Mujica: Sent to the San Diego Padres in April of 2009 by the Cleveland Indians as part of a conditional deal. Mujica has been very solid in a San Diego uniform in two seasons since coming over from the Indians. He is having his best season in 2010 with a 3.31 ERA and 0.85 WHIP.

Ryan Webb: Traded by the Oakland Athletics in July of 2009 with a player to be named later and Craig Italiano (minors) to the San Diego Padres for Scott Hairston. The Oakland Athletics sent Sean Gallagher (July 28, 2009) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.

Webb has been perhaps the most inconsistent Padres reliever, giving up 48 hits and 14 walks in 46.1 IP, which is why he was optioned down to Triple-A on Saturday. He did, however, sport a 3.30 ERA.

Tim Stauffer: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the first round (fourth pick) of the 2003 draft. Clearly has never lived up to his fourth overall draft selection but has carved out a nice niche for himself in the Padres’ bullpen.

He has been their “swing man” this year and has posted a remarkable 1.17 ERA in 38.1 IP.


So to recap, that’s seven relievers; six were traded for, and one was drafted. Those are some unbelievable acquisitions by former GM Kevin Towers and current GM Jed Hoyer.

Obviously the GMs got lucky with some of these acquisitions like Gregerson or Adams. Nine times out of 10, guys who are the “Player to be Named Later” don’t have all-world seasons like Gregerson is having in 2010.

While the Padres might have gotten lucky in some cases, they have proved that spending big money on relievers is not a valuable use of resources. The Padres have proved that a team can build a bullpen through smart trades and low-priced talent.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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