O'Flaherty is more effective against lefties than righties, but he's not completely useless against right handers. Last season, he actually faced more righties than lefties: 97 to 84. Against righties, he struck out 19, walked 13, and allowed one homer. Against lefties, he struck out 19, walked 5, and allowed...one homer. Against lefties, he allowed a .230 average. Against righties, it was .229. These aren't the splits of a player who should have a clearly defined role as a LOOGY, as he's really not bad at all against righties, aside from the walks. If O'Flaherty is able to cut them down a smidge, he could actually be...an effective reliever against hitters on both sides of the plate. With George Sherrill in the fold, who IS a defined LOOGY, the team could really benefit from having O'Flaherty as a multi-use guy in the bullpen instead of having him as a specialist.
There's also another possible use for O'Flaherty in 2011: DP specialist, the role currently filled by Peter Moylan. As we discussed on Tuesday, Moylan is hideously bad against lefties, and should pretty much not be facing them under any circumstances. So if the Braves need a DP and a lefty is at the dish, O'Flaherty is looking like a good option. His GB rate was 57.4% last season, good for top 15 in the league. Granted, he's not as fantastic at getting the ground ball as Jonny Venters and Moylan, but if the situation involves a lefty at the plate, and the Braves need a DP, O'Flaherty would be a good option to bring in instead of Moylan, who'd probably walk the lefty, or Venters, who "traditional managing techniques" says should pitch in the eighth inning AND THE EIGHTH INNING ONLY. It's just some food for thought. Regardless of what his role with the team ends up being in 2011, the Braves are going to count on O'Flaherty to get both righties and lefties out.