Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Contemplating Ron Mahay

Ron Mahay may (hey!) be the very definition of a fringe player. He's:
  • 39 years old;
  • A LOOGY who has never pitched more than 67 major-league innings in a season;
  • Has a career record of 26-13, 3 saves in 14 years;
  • Not even a member of the players union. (He's persona non grata because he was a replacement player in the 1994 spring training during the players strike. Sixteen years ago —when he was an outfielder.)
  • In his 15 major league seasons — 14 as a pitcher, one as an outfielder — he's had (according to Baseball Reference) 11 uniform numbers.

Fifteen years is a long time to hang around the fringes of major league rosters. Fifteen-year players are usually guys who were regulars, if not stars, at some point. Mahay never has been, never will be.

He just keeps on hanging on.

The Twins have a 12-man pitching staff. Mahay is either the 11th or 12 guy — him or Anthony Slama — and while there are followers who speculate that Mahay could be sacrificed for bring up Glen Perkins or if a pitcher is brought in on a waiver claim, my belief is that he's staying.

The stat line is sound enough: 36 games, 32 IP, 3.38 ERA, 6 BB, 24 K. More important — perhaps — left-handed hitters are .237/.246/.305 against him so far this season.

He hasn't been deployed in high-leverage situations, to be sure. But he's been charged with all of three earned runs in his last 21 outings, a total of 18.1 innings, and at some point the Greg McMichael Rule — if you get outs, they'll find a role for you — has to kick in.

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