The next time you're sitting on your sofa contemplating a parade of busted moves by the assembled general managers of your favorite franchise -- say, the Mets -- and are tempted to proclaim that you could do a better job than the clown in the executive suite, think twice. Anyone can make the easy calls and buy or trade at the top of the market, fishing for the Pujols and Sabathias when they're available. The aspect of the job that earns GMs their end-of-day bourbon-and-Maalox cocktail is putting together a bullpen. Even the abstemious Branch Rickey might have been driven to drink by relievers had he been forced to give them more than cursory attention; they're just too unpredictable for comfort.
How can a GM find the right mix in his pen? It's a very challenging question.