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Astros offseason: How the bullpen depth chart stands now

After signing a pair of relievers, how does Houston's bullpen shake out?

Okay, we promise this is the last Matt Albers-related article you'll see today. Maybe. We've already taken a little flak on Twitter over how much we've written about a relatively minor move, but let's delve one more time into its implications. For this, we're just going to take a simple look at how the Houston bullpen shakes out next season.

Who are the locks?

Chad Qualls

Matt Albers

Who are the definites?

Anthony Bass

Josh Fields

Who could close?

Jose Veras/Josh Fields

That's five right there, leaving just two spots for the mix of Raul Valdes, Darin Downs, Peter Moylan, Kevin Chapman, Josh Zeid, Chia-jen Lo and more. Houston will need at least one left-hander and probably two, which is why they have three guys (Chapman, Valdes, Downs) for two spots.

Before a possible Veras signing, that means there are already six spots taken up in Houston's bullpen. If he signs, the thing's set.

Which means Fields could be in for some stiff competition with Downs, Moylan and the rest for a spot. My guess is that he, Zeid and the rest of the 2013 Astros start in Triple-A, with Downs, another lefty and Moylan making the final two spots.

We haven't even discussed guys like Jose Cisnero, David Martinez and Paul Clemens, who could factor into that mix. Also, there's a chance that Bass could find his way into the starting rotation, opening up a spot here. If Veras doesn't sign, Fields is likely in the mix to close, leaving two spots open for the competition.

The point, though, is that space will be at a premium this year. The bullpen is nearly set and will look almost wholly different than last year.

I can't be more happy.