Left-hander Ron Mahay, senior member of the Royals, was designated for assignment on Monday and right-hander Yasuhiko Yabuta was called up from Triple-A Omaha to replace him.
Mahay, 38, had a 1-1 record and 4.79 ERA in 41 relief appearances this season, his second with the Royals. Last year he went 5-0 with a 3.48 ERA in 57 games.
Yabuta has spent the entire season with Omaha, going 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 26 games. He had 53 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings.
Yabuta was signed out of the Japan League before the 2008 season but struggled and spent part of the summer with Omaha. He was 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in 31 games last year for Kansas City
Despite all the tantalizing hints that the Royals could make a deal before the Trade Deadline, predictably nothing happened on Friday.
On the last day, pitcher Brian Bannister became the apparently most delectable item on the Royals’ menu. He was pursued by the Brewers (according to Fox Sports), the Marlins (South Florida Sun-Sentienl) and the Yankees (ESPN.com). If anything of that was true, obviously nobody came up with a good enough proposal. For the Royals to trade Bannister, who has just developed into a very reliable Major League pitcher, would be weakening the one big strength of the club — starting pitching.
The one move before the deadline was the purchase of center fielder Josh Anderson from the Tigers. That should help restore some of the speed and defense the Royals lost when Coco Crisp went out for the season.
Now comes the period where players can be traded only after clearing waivers. One possibility there is left-hander Ron Mahay. He’s almost sure to clear waivers and he’s a versatile veteran who’s been under-used by the Royals. At 38, he can still pitch and could be useful for a contender needing a lefty down the stretch. The acquiring club, though, would have to pick up what remains of his $4 million salary..
— Dick Kaegel
When you think about it, the addition of Juan Cruz not only gives the Royals a stronger bullpen but it pretty much sews up who will be in it.
You start from the back end with closer Joakim Soria. Plug in Cruz and Kyle Farnsworth and Ron Mahay as the set-up types. You’ve got Doug Waechter and Robinson Tejeda as the middle men and Jimmy Gobble as the lefty specialist.
As manager Trey Hillman was saying the other day, Farnsworth, Mahay, Waechter, Tejeda and Gobble are the type of guys that can go two innings and maybe even Cruz. So you’ve got plenty of depth in case a starter goes bad in the fourth inning and needs a lot of help. Then you hope the starter the next day can get through six or seven to help stretch things out.
Of course, Hillman also mentioned such guys as Brandon Duckworth and Joel Peralta and Jamey Wright and Carlos Rosa et al because the skipper doesn’t want to throw cold water on anybody’s hopes. And he shouldn’t because, hey, anything can happen in the next month. Somebody could get hot, somebody could get stinky, somebody could get hurt.
In fact, John Bale already has been diverted to an uncertain status because of his thyroid surgery. There’s no telling if he might be ready by Opening Day but that’s probably a long shot. Which is why you can pretty much make a logical forecast on the bullpen seven even at this early juncture. Shapes up as pretty magnificent seven, too, doesn’t it?
— Dick Kaegel