So.... The Twins claimed Randy Flores off waivers from the Colorado Rockies and moved Ron Mahay to the 60 day DL. Color the Twins fan-base unimpressed. Looking at 2010 numbers, I can't blame them. Flores is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA with Colorado, but his peripheral numbers are horrible. His strikeout rate per 9 innings is 5.93 and his walk rate is 4.28. His .234 BABIP (batting average, balls in play) is very low, suggesting he has been lucky and explaining why his FIP/xFIP 5.12/5.22. Against lefties, his strikeout and walk rates haven't been much better at 6.14 and 3.68. His BABIP is .203 suggesting he has been even luckier against lefties.
So, why make this move at all? Glen Perkins is the only current lefty in the pen. Perkins has a career 4.86 FIP/xFIP and a 4.57 strikeout rate and a 2.35 walk rate in 291.2 innings. Against lefties, Perkins has a 4.90 FIP/6.13 xFIP and a 5.60 K/9 and a 4.20 BB/9 in 64.1 innings. Perkins has been bad overall, but worse vs. lefties.
So, Flores looks to be only better than Perkins and given the fact he cost nothing, he is a worthy gamble. Is there a chance Flores can be any more useful than that?
Last year Ron Mahay was picked up after performing similar to Flores in Kansas City. Mahay was 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA in 41.1 innings with Kansas City in 2009. His was even worse than his ERA with a 5.56/4.90 FIP/xFIP. Mahay was useful down the stretch after he was picked up by the Twins. His strikeouts increased from 7.4 to 8.0 per 9 innings and his walk rate went down from 4.1 to 3.0. He was useful in 9 innings down the stretch, giving up only 7 hits while mostly pitching to lefties, with a 4.43/4.50 FIP/xFIP. he wasn't great, but he was decent enough against lefties.
Flores has been decent if not great in his career. His career strikeout rate is 7.31 his walk rate is 3.80 with a 4.36/4.48 FIP/xFIP in 246.1 innings. In 119 innings vs lefties over his career he has struck out 6.86 walked 4.24 and a 4.19 FIP/xFIP. these numbers aren't great and he hasn't been much better against lefties than against righties. His strikeout rate is a little lower than Mahay and walk rate a little higher but his career FIP/xFIP is almost exactly the same as Mahay's 4.13/4.07 FIP/xFIP.
He was great in limited innings in 2009. He spent most of the year in AAA, in his first season with the Rockies organization, but he had an excellent 10.5 strikeout and 1.5 walk rate in 12 innings with the big club. In 8.1 innings against lefties he struck out 12 and walked 1. A 2.14/1.40 FIP/xFIP.
Flores has had some success before and had some success changing teams. This time Flores is changing leagues and moving to a favorable home park and might have a short-term advantage against lefties that haven't seen him before. If he can come anywhere close to replicating what he did in 2009 against lefties, he will be a great find. If Flores is essentially average or even lucky as he has been in Colorado this year, he will be enough of an upgrade to the bullpen, that he is worth having on the roster. The key to the trade is that Glen Perkins is not ever used at all as a lefty specialist and hopefully is sent down in favor of keeping better righties on the staff. Flores is worth having and becomes worth more if Glen Perkins is sent packing. He can hold down the fort until Jose Mijares returns.
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