Meet: Randy Flores

A couple of hours ago the Twins claimed southpaw Randy Flores off waivers from the Colorado Rockies.

First, let's just appreciate how far Flores had to move through waivers without being claimed in order to fall to the Twins. Minnesota was ahead of only Texas, New York, Boston and Tampa Bay in claim priority.

Flores is a 35-year old lefty, drafted in 1997 by the Yankees, and has spent parts of eight Major League seasons with the Rangers, Rockies, Cardinals and Rockies again. He's established a nice niche for himself as a typical LOOGY--the guy who comes in to get one, maybe two outs, before disappearing into the night. From 2008 he's amassed just 65 innings in 117 appearances.

The problem with this is that Flores is actually better versus right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters. That's not ideal for a specialist.

Split

'05 OPS

'06 OPS

'07 OPS

'08 OPS

'09 OPS

'10 OPS

vs LHB

.583

.691

.816

.971

.756

.776

vs RHB

.803

.982

.741

.804

.915

.702

Three of the last four years, the very hitters that Flores is employed to retire have hit him better. The last time he was anything close to an effective LOOGY was 2006.

At times in the past he's been very good at striking hitters out, garnering a good whiff rate and limiting walks. But then there are years like this year, where the strikeouts are down, the walks are up and the only reason his ERA is a sparkly 2.96 is because he's stranding an unsustainable 85.5% of his base runners. He's inducing a career-low rate of ground balls (just 32.9%), and batters have tee'd off against him recently as well: over the last 28 days he's allowed a triple slash of .353/.421/.647.

Where picking up a guy like Flores does work in some sense is when there's a batter who just can't hit the broad side of a barn when standing in against a southpaw. Like Jason Kubel.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Ron Mahay has been shifted to the 60-day disabled list, making it official that he won't be back this year. Either Jeff Manship or Anthony Slama (more likely) will be sent back to Rochester to make room on the 25-man.

The bottom line is that this isn't a Jon Rauch-like move, where the man is a definite and clear upgrade to the existing options, but it's a move that probably needed to be made. The Blue Jays put their relievers on waivers today, so the opportunity for that upgrade is there. But for now the Twins have their lefty, and if they use him in the right situations (as limited as they might be), he'll have the chance to be effective.

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