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Roster Essentially Set

Larry Larue gives us his best guess:

Infielders (7): Richie Sexson, Bret Boone, Adrian Beltre, Pokey Reese, Willie Bloomquist, Gregg Dobbs and Scott Spiezio.

Outfielders (4): Randy Winn, Jeremy Reed, Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibañez.

Catchers (2): Miguel Olivo and Dan Wilson.

Pitching rotation (4): Jamie Moyer, Gil Meche, Bobby Madritsch and Aaron Sele (Joel Piñeiro will open the season on the disabled list).

Relievers (8): Eddie Guardado, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Jeff Nelson, J.J. Putz, Ryan Franklin, Ron Villone, Matt Thornton and Julio Mateo.

Ryan Franklin didn't exactly help his case yesterday by allowing seven runs to the Cubs in 5.2 innings. If Sele wasn't the favorite to win that rotation spot, he certainly is now.

The Times suggests that Ramon Santiago may actually have an edge on Greg Dobbs in the battle for the last bench spot, since he'd make for Pokey insurance at shortstop. Santiago's career .219 EqA is worse than Pokey's .235 and Bloomquist's .242, and only slightly better than Neifi Perez's .216. Suffice it to say that while I'm not a huge Greg Dobbs fan, replacing him with Santiago doesn't make things any better.

If the bullpen ends up like Larue predicts, then George Sherrill (he of the 3.63 K/BB since joining the organization) would be sent back down to AAA Tacoma, even though he's a better pitcher than Matt Thornton could ever dream of being. Also, once Joel Pineiro is activated from the DL in the middle of April, another pitcher will have to go away; Putz is "too valuable" as a setup man and backup closer, so it won't be him, meaning that it comes down to Thornton vs. Mateo. Mateo has options, making him the most likely candidate for a demotion, but it's possible that the team uses the first two weeks of the season to gauge just how much progress Thornton has really made, and whether or not he's worth keeping.

As one last note: Aaron Sele has allowed 10 hits in 17 innings this spring. He's struck out 10 batters. BABIP: .150.

It's a mirage.