Mahay-de A Mistake Did the Royals.



Benjamin: Lawernce, Kansas: Do you think there is any reason why Moore didn’t trade Grudz or Mahay at the deadline? I heard there were big offers for Ron!!

SportsNation Rob Neyer: Not trading Mahay is simply indefensible.



     And Rob Neyer makes what I would call a “truly excellent point” in regards to the journeyman reliever.  I myself was exercising this very theory near the deadline.  My mind did not expand to words such as “indefensible,” but nevertheless it would seem like a serious organizational mistake to hold onto a player like Mahay.  The Royals are waving from the shore as their transportation is heading out into the ocean, because they simply “missed the boat” on this one.


     Ron Mahay, a career WHIP of 1.386, posting arguably the best numbers of his career up on the wall during 2008, was held onto by a front office that should be focusing almost solely on the future, and a team that happens to be in fourth place as we speak.  And I should mention that fifth place is not all that far behind them.  They decide to hold onto Mahay, even though he is 37, which is the most important aspect in this situation.  And the fact that he throws between 50-70 innings a year, meaning he can only help the ballclub so much, another important aspect.  Wouldn’t it have made much, much more sense to rid of him, and obtain anything, anything at all, that will help the team achieve future success.  I am not sure how much the Royals could have received had they moved him, but I entertain the notion, and logically, that they would have acquired something that can help them in moving forward. 


     These are considered missed opportunities for a team, a front office.  Ron Mahay was at his apex in terms of a “return,” and the Royals let another chance slip through their grasp.  Take a note from Billy Beane, Kansas City Royals, relievers are overrated individually.  Especially ones that are 37 years old on a non-contending team.  Plenty of teams were looking to add bullpen help, and plenty of teams probably would have given up something decent to help the Royals.  But they held onto a pitcher that can only impact the team so much, and that SO MUCH is a very, very minimal amount. 




    Its simple. Mooore is a terrible GM and he proved it before by hiring Hillman, who is a worse manager.

    The Royals are only better because they have better players, not because of anything managment has done.

    A decent GM or manager would have them at .500 already.

  2. joefromnewhampshire

    Because in 2012, when they are semi-competitive, 41 year old Ron Mahay will be coming out of the bullpen…and having success.

  3. PAUL

    If the argument to trade Mahay is to “obtain anything, anything at all”, then they should hang onto him into next year and see if they can jump into contention because by that logic, they’ll be able to get exactly the same thing next year that they would’ve gotten this year. And he’s a lefty, so he’ll always have a job no matter his results.
    Guillen’s actually been productive this year and, while he’s getting a lot of money, sometimes teams like the Royals have to overpay to get players to come to show other players that they’re serious about getting better. To say Trey Hillman is a “worse” manager is just someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The guy’s been a successful scout; was the director of player development for the Rangers; was a winning manager in the minor leagues for the Yankees and won a championship managing in Japan; considering the shortcomings of the Royals this year, having them at 53-62 is a pretty good accomplishment and bodes well for the future.

  4. joefromnewhampshire

    But Mahay is having one of the best years of his career Paul, and odds are at this age he won’t perform any better than he is. So sell high would be the phrase. And you didn’t quote my whole phrase. It was, “Wouldn’t it have made much, much more sense to rid of him, and obtain anything, anything at all, that will help the team achieve future success.” That indicates I meant that they should get anything they can to help them for the future. Obviously I didn’t mean they should trade him for three prospects who are projected to stay in single A their entire careers.

    I don’t know much about Hillman, because I don’t watch the Royals much, but the FO has made some poor decisions. And shouldn’t they have thrown money at Aaron Rowand or something if they wanted to make an impression on other players, influencing them to come there? Was Guillen really a guy that attracts other ballplayers?

  5. PAUL

    If the Royals trade Mahay this year and then pull something similar to what the Twins and Marlins are next year, you know what they’re gonna be in the market for at mid-season, 2009? A lefty reliever. Do you think that when the Royals signed Mahay to a two-year deal, they were expecting to be in contention in 2008? The Indians and Tigers were expected to repeat what they accomplished over the last couple of years and more; no one saw their collapses coming. And some thought the White Sox were going to be much better, which they are. The Royals weren’t contending this year unless EVERYTHING fell into place. They didn’t sign Mahay to trade him unless someone offered something stupid, which obviously didn’t happen. To trade players for the sake of trading them doesn’t make any sense either.
    As for the Guillen attracting other players, the main things that attract players are: A) money; B) money; and C) a chance to win. Guillen’s a better hitter than Aaron Rowand. Potential free agencts are not gonna care about Guillen’s personality.
    For how long are teams going to be “building for the future” by dumping their veterans? The Royals tried that with Carlos Beltran, et, al. and got pretty much nothing for it. And front office people can only run their teams their own way. Teams have tried to copy Billy Beane and none have been able to do it. Moore’s got a good resume; he’s only in year three of his rebuilding project and the team IS better. I’m not a giant fan of Ron Mahay, but I’m not trading the guy away for no reason either.

  6. mikeeff

    “I’m not a giant fan of Ron Mahay, but I’m not trading the guy away for no reason either.”

    if i’m not wrong, joe posited a reason to trade him…the reason was to sell high and reap some good prospects.

  7. districtboy

    God, Moore has made bad so many moves (or lack there of). Why is Ross Gload starting, while Ryan Shealy has an OPS of .873 in Omaha? Read my entry titled “Gruddie Not Traded?” Sort of similar to yours. Great blogging.


  8. joefromnewhampshire

    Well Paul, do you really see the Royals contending next year? They could very well end up finishing in fifth place. No one knows, but there farm isn’t anything special I have heard.

  9. PAUL

    Hillman’s a winner; they’re spending some money; Luke Hochevar is eventually gonna be a star and it could come out of nowhere like it does sometimes with these pitchers; and I think the Twins, Marlins and Rays are proving that teams can suddenly jump up into contention very quickly. If Mahay were righty and having this same year, you trade him at his high value, but he’s lefty. There will ALWAYS be a demand for him as long as he’s able to drag himself out to the mound and they’ll get a similar return for him regardless of his stats.
    Moore cleaned out pretty much the whole scouting staff when he took over because the system was in such bad shape; he’s not going to all of a sudden have a packed farm system so quickly after taking over. With the Royals, you’re talking about cluelessness going back to the mid-90s. Bottom line, they weren’t going to get any blue chip prospects for Mahay one way or the other unless someone got stupid and no one did. If they decide to trade him next year as his free agency gets close, they’ll get pretty much what they would’ve gotten had they traded him now.


    Hillman is not a winner. He’s a terrible manager who can’t make game decisions. There’s a reason they Yankees didn’t hire him.

    He sucks as a major-league manager. He’s a bargain bin pickup that keep the Royals from spending money to find a real manager.

  11. PAUL

    Just saying “he’s a terrible manager” without even one example why doesn’t fly. And Hillman agreed to manage the Royals on the day that Joe Torre turned down the Yankees offer to return. Brian Cashman loves Hillman and might’ve hired him had he known Torre wasn’t coming back and if Hillman was still available.

  12. joefromnewhampshire

    But isn’t basing your moves on LOGIC, much more valuable than basing it on a chance that a below average team (Royals) will almost magically jump into serious contention in 2009? This isn’t Carlos Beltran. A 37 year old lefty like Mahay is nothing even close to having the sort of impact that a 27 year old Beltran would have had. Relievers are more expendable than starters and position players. And 37 year old relievers on bad teams are even more so. No one can predict the future, not Pecota, not any individual. But I have a strong feeling that the Royals have a few more years before they can compete. Gordon, Butler, Hochevar, Greinke, etc. are all still developing. Billy Butler will be 23 next season. 23! They have time, and they should build for a year when they realistically can contend. Not for a year where if EVERYTHING falls into place they might finish in third. And I hope the franchise has success, I tend to want to see small market teams compete, but I don’t see them competing, realistically, in 2009.

  13. PAUL

    And you’re suggesting that they should trade Mahay to maximize his value and get the most possible back for him. What exactly would that be? They’re not going to get much of anything for him now or later unless someone does something stupid. You know what they got for Beltran? They got Mark Teahen, a pretty good player; they got John Buck, a platoon catcher with some occasional pop; and Mike Wood, who was with Texas last year and isn’t playing with any MLB organization this year. That’s not a great return for a superstar center fielder who was 27 when he was traded, so what are you expecting to get for Mahay other than a mid-level prospect? That proposed return would make it pointless to trade him in the first place.



    Lets do it a different way. You tell me why Hillman is a good manager. Give me some examples. And winning more games this year doesn’t count. They are winning more games because they players they have are playing better. Not because of anything Hillman has done.

    I don’t need to give examples of why Hillman is a bad manager. He proves it everyday. You tell me how he is a good manager.

    Because I’l bet you can’t do it!

    You can’t.


    Here are some examples of why Hillman sucks.

    1. His use of the pitching staff.
    2. Not knowing how to use his bullpen.
    3. The intentional walks he has ordered.
    4. Ross Gload as your everyday 1B.
    5. Tony Pena starting 60 of the 1st 100 games.
    6. David DeJesus as the leadoff hitter.
    7. Mark Tehan being a starter.
    8. Soria in the bullpen instead of being a starter.
    9. Thinking a starter can only throw 85 pitches in a start.
    10. Billy Butler playing 1B 3 days a week instead of being a full-time position player or a full-time DH.

    Thats off the top of my head without making an effor.

    So, please, tell me how Hillman is a good manger. Give me 10 reasons. Take you time. Give it some thought.

    Because you can;t do it.

  16. PAUL

    1. He’s developing three young pitchers in Greinke, Hochevar and Davies (who the “pitching geniuses” in Atlanta couldn’t get much of anything out of, but has pitched serviceably with KC); he’s allowing Gil Meche to anchor the rotation; and getting something out of Brian Bannister, who isn’t any good.
    2. The top three in the bullpen have been very good and the innings throughout the staff have been doled out evenly and reasonably.
    3. I don’t have enough information about his intentional walk usage.
    4. Ryan Shealy should be playing instead of Gload.
    5. Tony Pena should not be playing in any position other than as a defensive replacement.
    6. David DeJesus has some pop and gets on base better than anyone else in their lineup and can run a little bit; there isn’t a better leadoff option available.
    7. Who is the option instead of Teahen?
    8. Why should Soria, an All Star closer who’s never started one professional game, all of a sudden be made into a starter?
    9. Gil Meche has thrown over 100 pitches in 16 starts this season including six over 115; Brian Bannister, 14 over 100 with six over 110; Zach Greinke, 12 over 100; he’s babied Hochevar and Davies within reason for two young pitchers.
    10. Butler is supposedly a rotten first baseman, has only 22 of his 84 hits for extra bases and is going to wind up with over 500 at bats this year. For a slugger, he doesn’t slug very much.

    Hillman’s doing a pretty good job with a very young team and trying to develop his players. His resume indicates that he’s got a plan and a history of success. I’m not sure who you want to manage the team, but I don’t know anyone—Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre—-who’d have a better result with that roster. If you’d like to go back to the days of Allard Baird treating his team as a big league farm club for the larger market teams and mismanagement by Tony Muser, Tony Pena and all their cluelessness, lots of luck.


    1. The manager doesn’t develop pitchers. They either have talent, or they don’t. Greinke isn’t developing, he’s there. He can’t “allow” Meche to anchor the rotation. That doesn’t even make sense. Your best pitcher is your best pitcher because he’s your best pitcher. Not what his rotation start is, which doesn’t last past the beginning of May or the first injury. And my grandmother could get the same effectiveness out of Bannister that Hillman is. You’re giving Hillman credit for something he has no control over.

    Point #1 to me.

    2. The top 3 in the bullpen have been good because they are good. As I said, the Royals are playing better because their players are better. Hillman can control their usage, but he doesn’t control their effectiveness. They aren’t better because of anything Hillman has done. They reason they haven’t been overused is because he won’t use them. They are all 1 inning pitchers, because he doesn’t allow them to throw a second one. He’s often pulled them out while being effective and handed the game to some deadass who turns around and blows it. Again, he does’t know how to use a bullpen. He”s underusing them and costing the Royals games.

    Point # 2 to me.

    3. I live in the UK and have watched enough games and read enough about what’s going on with the intentional walks. If you dont know about, how much of a fan are you really? And if you don’t follow the Royals, how can you have this much of an opinion? Nick Markakis, anyone?

    Point # 3 to me.

    4. You agree with me.

    Point #4 to me.

    5. You agree with, except Pena should be playing defense for another team. Because for some reason, Hillman is still trying to find him at bats. If Pena ever got lucky and got to .200, he would be starting again.

    Point #5 to me.

    6. You’re right. DeJesus has some pop. He would be good hiting 2nd. Maybe 5th. Defintely 6th. Maybe even 3rd. But not as a leadoff hitter. Nothing wrong with Aviles leading off. Maybe Gathright should have been given a chance, but he wasn’t and neither will anyone else while DeJesus is considered a leadoff hitter. If the Royals ever did trade him, I’ll bet the farm that he won’t hit leadoff. That’s was Buddy Bells fault for thinking DeJesus was a leadoff hitter, but if Hillman is just going to follow what he did, then we might as well have Bell back.

    I’m taking point #6 to me becasue DeJesus isn’t a leadoff hitter and anyone who thinks he is doesn’t know the game.

    7. Anyone. The Royals have enough outfielders/1B in KC and Omaha to insure Tehan never starts again. Lets see. Butler/Shealy/Guillen/DeJesus/Maier/the Hawaiian guy, I can’t spell it/actually give Gaitright more than 2 games a week and see if he can do it. Hell, Pena got 60 starts, which more games than Gaithright has played. Plenty of options. I lik Tehan. As a super-sub type of guy, but not as a starter. 250 AB’s don’t make you a star.

    Point #7 to me.

    8. The idea of a closer is ********. If you don’t have starters that can get you to the 9th, then what difference does it make? How many times has Soria went muplitple games in a row without pitching because they couldn’t get to him. If he’s that good in 1 inning at a time, I’ll take even 75% of that for 6 innings. Worrying about how good your bullpen is just verifies that your rotation is crap. You dont need a 1-inning reliever getting 40 saves when your team can’t even win 70 games. When you get to the point where you can win 85 games, its time to worry about a closer. As much as I dislike the Yankees, they figured it out with Chamberlin. Your best pitchers should be your starters, particularly when you’re as bad as the Royals have been.

    Point #8 to me.

    9. I’ll give you that one. You obvioulsly went to Baseball Reference or Retrosheet to look it up. Did you also see how many times he’s pulled a starter after 8 good innings with a low pitch count just so Soria could get a save? I can think of a dozen different times its happened. He’ll let them stay in and pitch, but not get CG’s or SHO’s. Really nice of him.

    I’ll give you point #9.

    10. Butler might be terrible with the glove. But you won’t figure it out playing the field 2 or 3 days a week and DH’ing the rest of the time. Either he plays the field everyday and learns how to do the job (or you live with it if he’s hitting) or you put him at DH for 162 games. So he needs to play. Especially if you’re using Gload as your 1B, Butler as DH and Hop-Along Guillen as your RF. You can’t really belive that’s the way to win games? Do you?

    Point #10 to me.

    So that’s me winining the debate 9-1. Which oddly enough, has been the score of many Royals losses this season. And will be as long as Hillman is managing the club. He’s about to start making me think Muser knew what he was doing.

  18. PAUL

    It’s very interesting how you try to end a debate by simply declaring yourself the “winner” of nine of the ten points and only allow yourself to lose the one under grudging acceptance of stats. I’m not going to get into a point-by-point back and forth; others can decide who’s truly “winning” if that’s the designation you choose to use, but managers DO develop pitchers and players by their usage and picking and choosing when to remove them or leave them in games. An untold number of pitchers, starters and relievers, have been ruined by managers who either abused them or didn’t give them a fair chance. And I’ve seen and heard enough managers to know whether one knows what he’s doing or spouting a bunch of by-the-book crud and Hillman knows what he’s doing whether you like him or not.

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