Diamondbacks Strengthen Bullpen

There were several areas of the Arizona Diamondbacks roster that struggled during the 2009 season but perhaps none more so than the bullpen. What was once a strong bullpen during the 2007 season was now a weakness.

When the season ended one of the areas identified by General Manager Josh Byrnes was the bullpen. According to Byrnes the Diamondbacks would be very aggressive in trying to address this concern and once again strengthen the relief corps.

Byrnes was true to his word making the first trade of the off-season bringing in Aaron Heilman. Heilman would provide some stability and give the bullpen a veteran leader.

Today the Diamondbacks continued to re-vamp their bullpen signing former San Francisco reliever Bobby Howry. Howry, an Arizona native who currently lives in Peoria Arizona, agreed to terms on a one-year deal for the 2010 season with a club option for 2011.

Howry adds another veteran to the back-end of the bullpen who has made a career out of shutting down teams in the final innings. For the Giants Howry went 2-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 63 appearances.

While these stats may not be overwhelming, they are a substantial upgrade from what the Diamondbacks had last season. Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch expressed excitement of adding Howry to the bullpen and suggested the right-hander will have an opportunity to become the eighth inning set-up man to closer Chad Qualls.

The signing of Howry will most likely finalize the bullpen acquisitions this off-season for the Diamondbacks. Club officials did say they would continue monitoring the free-agent pool and could make a deal for a pitcher for the right circumstances but even without another bullpen transaction they felt confident they had solidified the relief staff for 2010.

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