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The Dodgers have agreed to sign Ron Mahay, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). The left-hander gives manager Don Mattingly another option out of the 'pen, along with southpaws Hong-Chih Kuo and Scott Elbert.
Mahay posted a 3.44 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 34 innings for the Twins last year. The 39-year-old has always fared better against left-handed hitters, including in 2010, when he held them to a .219/.239/.281 line and posted 6.2 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 against them.
One year ago today, the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks finalized the trade that sent Curtis Granderson to New York, Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy to Arizona and Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson to Detroit. As we await this year's answer to that 2009 blockbuster, here are some links to enjoy…
- Phil Coke, who was also in that trade, is set to move to the Tigers' rotation, but Detroit isn't desperate for left-handed relief help. Daniel Schlereth, yet another product of the trade, could be a cog in the Tigers' 'pen, so they're showing limited interest in free agents like J.C. Romero and Ron Mahay, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- The agent for Hisashi Iwakuma, Don Nomura, told the Associated Press (via ESPN) that the A's showed no respect for his client in their recent negotiations. The agent is clearly frustrated by what he perceives to be a lack of sincerity from Oakland.
- The D'Backs have some interest in outfielder Chris Heisey, but have yet to approach the Reds about him, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
- The Phillies are still interested in a potential deal with Chad Durbin, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams tells Jayson Stark of ESPN.com that his team is "about tapped out" in terms of payroll flexibility (Twitter link).
- The Indians officially announced their minor league deal with Paul Phillips today.
- The Yankees met with Pedro Feliciano's representatives today, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News has some quotes from Yankees GM Brian Cashman, including praise for Boston's Adrian Gonzalez acquisition and an explanation that Dustin Moseley was non-tendered because he was looking for something greater than what New York had offered, and New York didn't want to go to arbitration.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean acknowledged that the team's payroll could jump from around $100MM in 2010 to as high as $120MM in 2011, according to Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News.
- Astros GM Ed Wade told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that rival clubs have asked about Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn (Twitter link).
- The Cubs will meet with Scott Boras to discuss his clients, including Carlos Pena, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat (on Twitter). The Cubs are known to have interest in the powerful first baseman.
- The Marlins are discussing free agents Joe Beimel and J.C. Romero as they look to add left-handed relievers to their bullpen, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. Ron Mahay could be another possibility for the Marlins, who have about $1.5MM to spend on a reliever. Florida will have some competition for Mahay's services, as the Red Sox are also interested.
6:09pm: Fuentes is looking for $6-8MM per season, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
12:12pm: The Red Sox are interested in lefty relievers Brian Fuentes and Ron Mahay, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The Sox clearly have a need for southpaw relief, and unlike Scott Downs, Fuentes and Mahay will not cost a draft pick.
I wonder if Fuentes will first try to find a closing job. The Orioles are known to have contacted Fuentes' agent and can pitch a ninth inning opening. Though they seek a closer, the Diamondbacks are not in on Fuentes according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
Check out my free agent stock watch piece on Fuentes here. My one-year, $4MM idea from October now seems light.
It’s not easy to imagine a bullpen with more question marks than Minnesota’s. That's not to say the Twins don’t have quality relievers, it’s just hard to predict which ones will return in 2011. Kelly Thesier of MLB.com breaks down the team’s bullpen, which includes six free agents and a non-tender candidate.
Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Ron Mahay and Randy Flores all hit free agency but they won’t all return. Thesier says the Twins are not likely to keep Mahay or Flores and seem most likely to target Crain and Guerrier.
Crain, who ranks as a Type B free agent, says he loves Minnesota but would like the chance to close. That won’t happen if he stays put, since Joe Nathan should return from Tommy John surgery next year. Matt Capps, who saved 42 games in 2010, figures to be next in line for saves.
The Nathan-Capps duo promises to be effective, but it will definitely be expensive. Nathan earns $11.25MM next year and Capps will get a raise from his $3.5MM salary through arbitration.
If the Twins lose certain pitchers after offering arbitration, they could gain picks in next year’s draft. Crain, Rauch and Fuentes rank as Type B free agents and could each bring the Twins a supplementary first round pick. Guerrier is a Type A free agent, so the Twins would get two top picks if he leaves after declining arbitration.
Teams are perpetually searching for effective left-handed relievers, so here are five southpaws who could become useful pieces at a bargain price next year. Some of the pitchers below are inching closer to 40, but Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver proved this year that there's no age limit for lefty specialists. The list focuses on pitchers who will likely sign for a couple million dollars at most, so I haven't included Hisanori Takahashi, Scott Downs and others:
- Randy Choate – The 35-year-old hits the open market as your prototypical 'left-handed one out guy.' He made 85 appearances in 2010, but logged just 44.3 innings. His numbers are strong (8.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 4.23 ERA) and suggest he could play anywhere, but teams that play in homer-friendly parks such as the D'Backs, Rockies and Brewers may take note of Choate's ability to keep the ball on the ground. His 60% ground ball rate ranked 15th among big league relievers with at least 20 innings.
- Will Ohman – Ohman, 33, recovered from a poor 2009 season and posted a 3.21 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 between the O's and Marlins. He's going to walk hitters, but he can still get lefties out.
- Ron Mahay – Mahay turns 40 in June, but that didn't stop him from posting a 3.44 ERA this year and striking out three times as many batters as he walked. He's not in position to demand a multi-year deal, but he could help someone's bullpen in 2011.
- Taylor Tankersley – The 27-year-old is the least predictable of the options listed, but possibly the most intriguing. Tankersley, a former first rounder, has struck out nearly a batter per inning in his big league career and has held lefties to a .223/.313/.372 line. There are drawbacks – he missed the 2009 season with a stress fracture in his pitching elbow and has trouble against righties – but Tankersley would be a good fit for the Pirates, Mets or Mariners at the right price. Why those clubs? As a fly ball pitcher, he probably fits best in a park that limits home runs and as an unproven pitcher, he fits best on a non-contender. That makes Pittsburgh, New York and Seattle potential fits.
- Brian Tallet – Unlike the pitchers above, Tallet won't necessarily hit the free agent market, but the 33-year-old is a non-tender candidate so he may be available by early December. Tallet, another fly ball pitcher, limited lefties to a stellar .176/.228/.343 line this year with a 28/6 K/BB ratio.
Dennys Reyes' 2010 numbers look OK, but don't let that 3.55 ERA fool you. Reyes posted a 0.54 ERA through May and a 5.91 ERA afterwards. He can induce grounders, but he walks more than one batter per two innings pitched.
The Twins agreed to terms with lefty Ron Mahay on a minor league deal, according to a team press release. Mahay, 38, finished the '09 season with the Twins after being released by the Royals.
Aside from four homers allowed, Mahay did a nice job against lefties in 25.6 innings last year: 7.01 K/9, 1.75 BB/9. The Red Sox, Phillies, and Mets also expressed interest in the southpaw reliever this winter.
Sunday night linkage..
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if money might be a factor in the Nationals' starting shortstop battle. Ian Desmond is making a compelling case for the starting job but the club might be unwilling to put Cristian Guzman and his $8MM contract on the bench.
- Padres closer Heath Bell told Tom Krasovic of AOL Fanhouse that he would be agreeable to signing an extension that is budget-friendly for the Padres. San Diego avoided arbitration with Bell in January when they agreed to a one-year, $4MM pact.
- It appears that reliever Ron Mahay won't be signing with the Mets, writes Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News. A source tells Rubin that there's no way Mahay would accept a minor league deal. Meanwhile, a separate source says that the Mets won't offer a major league contract.
- In his latest mailbag, a reader suggests to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that the Marlins should sign John Smoltz. Frisaro says that the Marlins have no interest in the 42-year-old as the 26-year-old Josh Johnson is a good influence on the team's young pitchers.
The Cubs and Twins have seen top relievers get hurt this spring and already both clubs are interested in relievers (specifically Jason Frasor). Don't expect Jim Hendry to sign one of the free agent options remaining; the Cubs are reportedly uninterested in that group. But as more pitchers get injured, some of the free agents will gain appeal. Here's a look at the remaining relievers who have attracted at least some interest this offseason.
- Russ Springer wants to pitch and would like to return to the Cardinals.
- As of last week, Joe Beimel still had a major league offer from the Mets, who hadn't ruled out pursuing Ron Mahay, either.
- Mahay turned down a minor league offer from the Red Sox last month. Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Mahay still wants a major league deal.
- The Phillies had interest in Mahay and Alan Embree on minor league deals earlier in the offseason. Tracy Ringolsby of Inside the Rockies reported in October that there was a good chance Embree would retire.
- The Nationals released Eddie Guardado yesterday. He had considered retirement late last season, but decided his knees were healthy enough to pitch.
The Kiko Calero signing doesn't mean the Mets are done adding relievers. They are still interested in signing Joe Beimel to a major league deal, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. The contract would guarantee the lefty significantly less than the $2MM he earned last year with the Nationals and Rockies.
Beimel logged 55.1 innings between with those teams last year, posting a 3.58 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. If the Mets move on from Beimel, who turns 33 next month, they could pursue Ron Mahay.