Wheeling and Dealing

Entering their three-game series with the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins find themselves one game below .500 with 35 games remaining on the regular season schedule. After acquiring shortstop Orlando Cabrera at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Twins have decided to attempt to bolster their roster for the final month.

The team today acquired relievers Jon Rauch and Ron Mahay, and according to major league sources, won the claim on starter Rich Harden. 
Neither reliever acquired by the team has a dominant ERA, but both could provide an upgrade in the bullpen to help support Matt Guerrier and Jose Mijares; Rauch could also contribute in 2010, the final year of his deal.
After getting off to a slow start with a 9.31 ERA in April, Rauch has drastically improved since with ERA’s of 3.46, 2.08, and 1.86 in the months of May, June and July. Thus far in August Rauch has a 5.00 ERA, but has allowed all runs in two of his nine total outings.
Ron Mahay meanwhile has posted solid numbers in half of the months, and less-than-stellar numbers in the other half. Mahay could provide another left-handed option out of the bullpen which could take a load off Mijares.
The additions in the bullpen for the Twins might not be the end of the team’s activity. Before the end of the day Monday, the Twins could also add starting pitching. Major league sources have confirmed that the team placed the winning claim on Chicago Cub, Rich Harden.
In the second half Harden has posted a tremendous 1.80 ERA and has held hitters to a .151 batting average. The sides have until noon Monday to work out a deal, but it won’t be easy. Projected as a Type A free agent, the Cubs could receive two draft picks by holding onto Harden and letting him walk this off-season.
While Harden may seem like a long shot, starter Brad Penny has been called a more feasible option. Reports say the Twins may be willing to pay Penny nearly $1.5 million over the final month which could be enough to put him in Minnesota pinstripes.
Whatever might happen in the final 35 games, the front office is making moves and attempting to make the final season in the Metrodome a memorable one.

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