The Royals announced today that they’ve signed lefty reliever Jose Mijares, formerly a pain in the Royals’ collective side during his time with the Twins. There haven’t been any details of the deal just yet, but I would guess it’s simply a one-year deal that helps to shore up the “killer bullpen” that’s apparently been a goal this offseason.
Mijares is at a low point in his short career, as he was non-tendered by the Twins after a season in which he posted a 4.59 ERA and 1.0 K/BB over 49 innings. That clouds his potential, however, as he’s been a great reliever in the past. In my time regularly watching the Twins in ’08 and ’09, Mijares was a key piece of the late-game strategy for Ron Gardenhire. In those seasons, Mijares put together a 2.13 ERA with 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.61 K/BB across 72 innings pitched. He was definitely a valuable pitcher and especially valuable as a lefty reliever. Left-handed batters are hitting just .212/.276/.331 against Mijares for his career. He’s definitely a valuable asset.
As far as what that does for Tim Collins, it mostly just takes some of the load off of him. Collins struggled with throwing strikes as the 2011 season progressed, so he can still fight for a major league spot out of Spring Training. Still, it’ll take a strong effort. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Royals want to give Collins some time away from big league usage, if possible. Basically, this ensures that there are multiple strong LHP options in the bullpen should the Royals need them.
Mathematically, this is a bit confusing, however. I’m not really sure how many relievers the Royals need, but I guess part of building a killer bullpen that can make up for starting pitching shortcomings requires having depth across the board. At a cursory glance, the Royals now have at least 10 good options for relievers. Since they’ll probably do a 13-man pitching corps, someone will get the axe. Or get traded. Or who knows. Anyway, it’s very crowded out there.
And that seems to be a good thing. The Royals have both quality and quantity in their reliever corps. I’d say that’s a definite piece of the killer bullpen puzzle.
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