Yanks looking at Mahay for lefty pen spot


Now that the Yanks have nearly wrapped up their internal unfinished business this off-season, they can turn their attention to the team’s other holes. Right now, those holes begin and end with pitching. While the Johan Santana sweepstakes have yet to heat up, the Yanks are looking at Ron Mahay as a potential lefty arm.

Mahay, a well-traveled 36-year-old, has played 11 seasons of a decent enough career for a lefty. He’s spent time on six different teams, compiling a 3.87 ERA but a 1.40 WHIP. He doesn’t give up too many run, but he puts a lot of guys on base. In other words, he’s a perfect fit for a Yankee pen that perennially cannot locate the strike zone. Let’s sign him.

Last season, Mahay made $1.25 million and split his time between Texas and Atlanta. He finished the year with a 2.55 ERA despite pitching to a whip of 1.33. He certainly enjoyed his fair share of luck. Looking at his splits, we see a pitcher who was quite effective against lefties. They hit just .189/.250/.292 against him last year, and Mahay struck out 27 lefties while working just 8. On the other side, righties hit .242/.377/.379 with 28 strike outs and 29 walks. I’d say this guy’s a lefty specialist.

Considering the recent southpaws the Yanks have trotted out — Ron Villone, Mike Myers, Sean Henn, Felix Heredia — the Yanks could do a lot worse than Mahay. I’d probably offer him a $1.5-$2 million, one-year deal and hope he lands in the Bronx. He’s among the best of what’s around really.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Steve S says:

    Im sick of retread middle relievers, especially guys who had any success in Atlanta. Such a waste of a roster spot.

  2. Tripp says:

    Atlanta is a soft place to pitch. Get some young guys some experience so they are brought up in the New York pressure and can handle it.

  3. JRVJ says:

    I’ve misplaced the list of Class A and Class B FAs.

    Is Mahay a Class A or a Class B FA?

    I’d say NFW to him if he’s a class A, and a strong maybe if he’s a Class B.

  4. Mitchell's Eleven says:

    bad idea.

    the only guys, out of any of these middle reliever types, i’d be willing to spend money on would be the Viz, Riske, and Affeldt. i swear middle relievers are like field goal kickers. you rarely know what you’ll get out of one.

  5. stuart says:

    amen.. tired of old, lefty retread specialist, with no chance of success..

    this is mike myers for about the 7th time, pass…..

    the yanks have plenty of good arms in the minors…

  6. Keith says:

    I’m certainly not opposed to adding a lefty specialist to the bullpen.

    I think with different bullpen management under Girardi, these players will be used in situations where they are more likely to succeed than with Joe Torre.

    If we resign Viz, and put him and Ohlendorf at the back end (with Farnsworth, if he is unfortunately not moved), fill in some long relief with Rasner/Karstens type, and add Mahay for late inning lefty work, we could certainly do worse.

    What else are our lefty options, Sean Henn? No thanks.

  7. brxbmrs says:

    I’d rather see the Yanks work with Igawa and make him a lefty reliever – go with his two best pitches and hope he can improve his control that way.

    No more lousy guys like Mahay clogging a roster spot – if he’s the best the Yanks can do, they shouldn’t do anything except try to trade for a better option.

    • Count Zero says:

      While this isn’t a bad idea on the surface (Igawa can be nasty on lefties), you have to consider the fact that Igawa can’t throw strikes. Nothing worse than a limited role reliever who comes into the game and immediately walks two guys.

      Unless you can fix his control problems (which I doubt), he can’t come out of the pen as a loogy.

      • brxbmrs says:


        I think if they can’t fix Igawa’s control issues as a reliever than he will have no value as a starter either.

        Alot of guys become more effective when they don’t have to worry about throwing 3 or 4 pitches and facing the lineup more than once.

        I think Igawa’s biggest problem was overthrowing his fb (hence the wildness and the rise) and not being able to get over with anything else – he’s got to trust what he’s got – it may mean a trip back to Japan, but there’s no other option.

        I’d like to see the Yanks try to get something from him before we get a never was journeyman like Mahay – problem is with signing guys like that, ehty get too many chances – Cash’s biggest mistakes have been going into the season with big holes in the bench and pen – the bench is much better, need to come up with a better solution than Mahay.

  8. jon says:

    Word is he’s looking for JC Romero money ($12M over 3 years) or better.

    Um, no.

    Mahay is a type B by the way. I think that the draft pick, especially with the Yankees’ willingness to pay over slot, is worth more than Mahay, even if he played for free.

    We should learn from Kevin Towers how to build a bullpen.

  9. Joseph P. says:

    Ditto what jon said. He’s going to want a multi-year deal. That in itself would make me walk away.

    But the Yankees would not lose a draft pick for signing Mahay. Rather, the Braves would pick up a supplemental pick.

  10. Mike A. says:

    Forget it, you can find a much cheaper and just as effective option in the Rule V draft or among the list of minor league FAs. You just have to do a little more homework.

  11. Count Zero says:

    At 3x$4MM I would pass also.

    • Ben K. says:

      Yup. Agreed. But as I wrote, if he’s willing to take a one-year deal for minimal mounts of dough, I’d sign him. Otherwise, good luck to him finding that three-year, $12 mil deal that shouldn’t materialize.

  12. steve (different one) says:

    everyone keeps saying the yankees have plenty of internal bullpen arm candidates, but who do they have from the left side?

    this would be a blah signing, not horrible, not great.

    oh, and he’s going to get at least 2 years from someone, so the idea of 1 year take it or leave it offer is unrealistic.

  13. daneptizl says:

    I’d do it for a one year, but I don’t see why it’d have to be for minimal amount.

  14. Mike44 says:

    Does anyone know the status of Damaso Marte (Pitt)? I could swear he was an FA and I think he would be a beter signing than Mahay…

    • Joseph P. says:

      Nah. He and fellow lefty John Grabow are reportedly available via trade, though. Marte is better, but Grabow will be cheaper to acquire. And there are fewer expectations from Grabow.

  15. Pounder says:

    How about an aging righty with a great screwball?

  16. Mike A. says:

    Why not bring Jim Abbott or Jimmy Key out of retirement? I’m sure they could get one lefty batter out every other day.

  17. E-ROC says:

    Does anyone have anything on Masahide Kobayashi?

  18. tony from the bronx says:

    like jon said Kevin Towers builds a bullpen almost every year on the cheap.When a rliever has had a few good years and is under paid his value is high.Once he hits his money years usualy the mileage catches up with the guy.Towers seems to get rid of his guys just in time(Linnderick)He says a failed starter who has two good pitches and pounds the zone can be a good reliever.Also a ptcher with a trick pitch or funky delivery also can do the job.The most important thing is finding a guy who throws strikes.The Yanks can build there bullpen from within,if its true that we are so rich in pitching talent.

    • steve (different one) says:

      of course, if the yankees played half their games in a huge pitcher’s park and played in the NL, i think they would have little trouble building a cheap bullpen either.

      it’s easy to say “just throw strikes” when there is a much smaller chance of those strikes being deposited in the seats.

      it’s not that i disagree with Towers, i just think it’s much easier said than done in the AL. relievers in the NL are pitching to a lot of bench players and the talent disparity between the two leagues is pretty wide at this point.

  19. Tripp says:

    Lets get David Wells back in pinstripes! The perfect left handed specialist. He can entertain the crowd by seeing how many hot dogs he can eat while he’s not pitching.

  20. tony from the bronx says:

    the point of what Towers was saying ,is that you dont get value when you sign a reliver.2007 Baltimore spent what? 45mil on relievers.Besides Chad Bradford who worked out? Look at the Yankees.Fransworth,hammond,Karsay,and so on.Again you are better off using what you have then paying a F.A.

  21. [...] today, frequent commenter E-ROC asked us about Masahide Kobayashi. MLB Trade Rumors noted a few weeks back that Kobayashi was one of the top three Japanese Free [...]

  22. ceciguante says:

    what the yanks have failed to grasp since about 2000 is that a team needs ELITE setup pitching to win a WS. you can’t just have decent setup guys, and hope they get hot in october. you can slug to 98 wins with the decent guys, but you will be summarily bounced in october when you put your 3.5 or 4.5 era setup guys in the 7th and 8th inning pressure cooker, while the other team trots out elite 2.0 or 2.5 era killers. i don’t care if it’s via FA or what — i still wish they had bj ryan for the 8th — they are glaringly worse than the other “good” teams in this category, and cashman should lose his job next year if he can’t fix it. enough is enough. karsay, heredia, quantrill, witasick, proctor, vizcaino, bruney, farnsworth, etc….wretch…how many chances do you get???

    • Ben K. says:

      how exactly do you define “elite setup pitching”? It’s incredibly hard to find guys who anyone would consider elite setup men because they simply don’t exist on the free agent market.

    • steve (different one) says:

      BJ Ryan definitely would have been a great buy. his next Tommy John is half off!

  23. tony from the bronx says:

    elite setup man change from year to year.That is the problem with bullpens.I think the Yanks are trying to slove that problem by drafting elite closers from college.Cox,Mellencon for example.Unfortunately they were both hurt last year,when they probably whould have been given a chance.Thats why I think Chasman is hoping Sanchez reovers in time for June,July, because he has the stuff of elite set up man

  24. Rob_in_CT says:

    It’s funny… the “elite” Yankee relievers of the dynasty era routinely put up 4+ ERAs during the season… and then proceeded to be unhittable in the playoffs (see: Stanton, Michael).

    No question the dynasty era bullpens were stronger than the current unit. But those guys (Nelson, Stanton, Mendoza) have become a bit mythical over the years.

    I think the best choice is to go almost exclusively with what they already have + some dumpster diving.

    Hell, you never know. We could luck into one of Farnsworthless’ good years. Edwar could pan out. Farmhands could come up.

    What almost assuredly will NOT happen, is that the Yanks sign a FA reliever to a big contract and win b/c of him.

    • JCP says:

      Thanks so much for the dose of sanity – there are elite setup guys – Steve Shields, Broxton, I would include Heath Bell because his defensive independent ERA the past four years has been very good….

      but in general relievers with very low ERAs, guys typically called dominant, are benefiting from small sample sizes. Nowhere was this more true than with the Yankees run of bullpen success in the late 90′s in the postseason. The clock struck 12 on the run of luck when bloop hits brought down Mo in ’01

  25. bill says:

    You can’t buy a bullpen. Throw a bunch of dudes who throw hard out there and hope that a few of them are successful.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.