In “things I said a month ago” news…
If this sounds familiar, that’s because in early January I wondered if the Dodgers should be thinking about adding a second lefty in the pen behind Hong-Chih Kuo, as Kuo is not your typical lefty and may end up sharing the closer’s role anyway.
Ron Mahay, 40 (6.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, .520 OPS vs LHB)
How old is Ron Mahay? He tried to make it as an outfielder in the Boston system in the early 90s, briefly appearing as a replacement player in 1995, before converting to pitching and getting back to the bigs several years later. Despite his age, Mahay was death on lefties in 2010. That’s not a rate he’s managed for his entire career, but he’s still sub-.700 against them over 14 seasons, and he did strike out three times as many as he walked last year.
Me? If it’s cheap – less than $1m, or even better a minor-league deal – I’d try to get Mahay and see if Hawksworth slips through waivers.
I know he’s old, but I can’t back this move enough. Kuo’s got well-known availability issues, and if he’s the closer then the Dodgers might not have a lefty at all. Doing it on a minor-league deal makes this a no-risk play, and Mahay was so good against lefties last year.
While Mahay’s far from guaranteed a spot, most impacted here are Scott Elbert and Blake Hawksworth, I would think. Elbert now not only has to pitch his way onto the roster, he’s got to beat out Mahay to do it, and Hawksworth is the vulnerable last man in the pen. It’s hard for me to not root for Mahay here, assuming he looks good in camp; Elbert could use some more minor-league seasoning, and Hawksworth is a relatively fungible righty arm.