Friday, February 4, 2011

Yet another veteran reliever signs elsewhere

Ron Mahay, who spent most of 2010 and a chuck of 2009 in the Twins bullpen, reached a minor-league deal with the Dodgers on Thursday.

Judging from the L.A. Times piece linked to above, it's a good fit for Mahay, who is the very definition of a second LOOGY.

Mahay did a good job for the Twins, and, unlike the Matt Guerrier-Jesse Crain-Brian Fuentes-Jon Rauch combo, he was never likely to command seven figures or multiple years. But there's no reason to believe that the Twins made any effort to retain him.

Which fits my core theory about this Twins offseason: They're consciously seeking long-term roster pieces, not short-term patches. That applies even to the fringes of the roster, to the lefty specialists and the utility infielders, not just to the starting lineup.

Figuring that Brian Duensing is a starter and Jose Mijares the top lefty in the pen, the Twins have three candidates on their 40-man roster for the second LOOGY role: Glen Perkins, Dusty Hughes and Scott Diamond. (If Duensing is in the 'pen, he's more likely to be used as a late-inning man than as a second LOOGY.) Perkins, Hughes and Diamond are all more than a decade younger than Mahay; Hughes and Diamond are minimum salary serfs, and the arbitration-eligible Perkins is to be paid less than Mahay will be if Mahay makes the Dodgers roster.

Mahay is probably the safest bet of the bunch for 2011, but he has the lowest ceiling as well. The Twins only have to hit on one of their three to make the decision to pass on him the right move -- not just for 2011, but in following years as well.

1 comment:

  1. Mahay always made me nervous when he took the mound. He always looked like a former-Royals pitcher, the guy rejected by the worst pitching staff in the AL. I know that may be unfair, but that's the impression I always got from him.