Twins Acquire Ron Mahay: Analysis & Fallout

ESPN's Buster Olney has reported that the Twins have picked up southpaw reliever Ron Mahay from the Kansas City Royals


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Ron Mahay 1-1 41 0 0 0 0 0 41.1 55 26 22 9 19 34 4.79 1.79

Those are Mahay's straight up stats from this season, and they're nothing to brag about.  The 38-year old lefty is joining his eighth major league team, and I wouldn't blame you for thinking that's more because of his inability to become irreplaceable than because he's just that popular.  Still, being able to hang around to this age as a bullpen specialist is a tribute of some kind.

Minnesota's front office does understand that their bullpen and rotation are in need of a little boost, and Randball's Stu has already covered the hot topic of last night when the Twins claimed Rich Harden, but even though the Twins are paying just a pro-rated portion of the major league minimum for one month of Mahay you have to ask the question: is this an improvement?

Jose Mijares and Brian Duensing are currently the only two lefties on the 25-man roster, with Mijares as the southpaw out of the 'pen.  Adding the veteran Mahay gives the Twins an extra option from that side of the rubber, giving them another choice when working match-ups late in the game.  Wait, did I just say "match-ups"?

Pitcher AVG VS RHB OPS VS RHB AVG VS LHB OPS VS LHB
Ron Mahay .340 1.043 .278 .778
Joe Nathan .180 .468 .161 .542
Matt Guerrier .221 .644 .167 .441
Jose Mijares .276 .756 .130 .439
Jesse Crain .244 .646 .356 1.092
Bob Keppel .282 .834 .304 .852
Jeff Manship .500 1.038 .222 .541
Brian Duensing .277 .809 .250 .629
Philip Humber .429 .984 .385 1.004

 

Sure, there's some small sample size considerations here with guys like Humber, Manship...and even probably Keppel and Duensing,   What it looks like we're getting in Mahay isn't necessarily a guy who is a definitive statistical improvement over half of this crew, but he is a guy who's seen...well, not "it all", but he's seen a lot.  And we're getting a guy whose longevity may or may not mean something to the men who pitch in front of him and the guys who field behind him.  Maybe the biggest positive we're getting from the acquisition of Mahay is the appearance to the players that yes, actually, the front office is trying to do something.

In a pennant race, given the choice between a 38-year old veteran and a non-hype rookie who's gotten shelled, who do you choose?

Fallout

Somebody is going to be removed from the 25-man roster, first of all.  This could be Joe Crede, although this would put pressure on the Twins in regards to the post-season roster.  It needs to be set by the end of the month, and considering this rule...

  • In cases of injury replacements on the post-season roster, only position players can be inserted for position players, and likewise pitchers for pitchers

...things could get difficult.  Putting Crede on the DL and using Mahay to fill his roster spot means the Twins would need to make a move on another position player prior to September 1, unless they want to fake an injury to someone like Alexi Casilla...which I wouldn't advise they do.  Not that they'd listen to me.

The most likely, and most logical, scenario sees the Twins sending Armando Gabino back to Rochester, having Mahay fill his spot, and keeping four starters on the roster; Thursday's off-day keeps everyone on rest, and with rosters expanding on Tuesday the Twins could have another starter ready to drop into the rotation.

Of course, none of this means that Crede shouldn't be sent to the disabled list.

More importantly than possibly all of that, is making room on the 40-man roster.  Even with Boof Bonser, Pat Neshek and Kevin Slowey not taking up space by being on the 60-day DL, all spots are filled.  The Twins could shift either Francisco Liriano or Glen Perkins to the 60-day DL, or they could attempt to remove someone by passing them through waivers.  Of course, this assumes the Twins would want to bring this person back.  It's more than realistic to entertain the notion that someone like Humber could get his walking papers.

Conclusions

Picking up Mahay wasn't a bad move, but we really have to hope he either performs better for the Twins than he did the Royals, or is simply used more effectively than he was with the Royals.  But what's fun is that the most intriguing part of this acquisition isn't the acquisition itself, it's what happens to get that acquisition on the field.

What are your thoughts?

Upcoming...fallout and conclusions...

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