Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Farnsworth, after the smoke clears: Still a thumbs-down

I have given myself a few days to digest the Kyle Farnsworth signing. I thought that perhaps my initial rage would subside into something more palatable, which I could then turn into a blog post that was actually worth something (very unlike my first attempt at analysis of the deal).
All I had to say that day was this:

$9.25 million? Really, Dayton?

That's a lot of money, for not a lot of pitcher.

...And really, that's all I can think of now. It still makes absolutely no sense to sign a "pitcher" (I'm using that word generously) like Farnsworth for THAT MUCH MONEY. In last year's Baseball Prospectus book, he was described as "an overpaid trash-time pitcher, albeit one with unusually good velocity for that role."

Once again, it seems that the Yankees' abundance of money is at the root of this problem. After 2005, by far Farnsy's best season, the Yanks snagged him for about $5.5 million, when he had previously never made more than $1.9 million. This year, when New York traded him back to Detroit for Ivan Rodriguez, his salary was up to $5.9 million.

That's quite a trick he's playing; being a guy who throws pretty hard but can't actually pitch, and getting ridiculous millions to do it. But if the Yanks had never been so jumpy to sign him at whatever cost, we wouldn't be here today. (Sorry, apparently part of my grief over this signing includes finding someone to blame. I don't really mean anything by it.)

Was there a purpose in paying him that much in the first place? I know his 2005 season was awesome, but did it warrant a pay raise of $3.5 million? Were the Yanks that desperate for a right arm in their pen?

In 2005, New York had these right-handed non-closers throwing significant innings in their bullpen: Tom Gordon, Tanyon Sturtze, Felix Rodriguez, Scott Proctor, and Paul Quantrill.

Sturtze and Proctor stayed with New York for 2006, and the team added righties Farnsworth, Brian Bruney, and rookie T.J. Beam. (Again, those are just the guys with more than a handful of appearances.) That pitching staff was already pretty darn good in '05, and improved in the standings in pretty much every category in '06. So I'm not trying to say that the addition of Farnsworth was an inherently bad thing for the Yankees from the start, but did it have to be such a high-dollar signing?

I can understand New York grabbing him off of his hot season; it's easy to see why he was a tempting free agent target for them. But I'm having a harder time understanding why Dayton Moore was so jumpy for him this year. Does Moore really believe that no one as good as Farnsworth (but preferably better) would be available at all this winter? Oh hey look, I found one! And I'm not even a GM.

Farnsworth in 2008 was NOT Farnsworth from 2005. So why be so quick to throw craploads of money at him? Like I said, I can understand why a team would want to bite on a reliever after a really good year, like Boston going for RamRam or the Yanks and our boy Farnsy. But this line, and all the scouting reports on Farnsworth do not inspire confidence, and certainly not $9.2 million worth of confidence.

60.3 70 32 30 15 22 61 1 1 261 4 1 4.48 4.44 99 1.525

(Sorry if the spacing is all weird; you can just look at his baseball-reference page)

I'm trying my hardest to find a silver lining. We all are. But the best anyone can come up with is that the Royals are well-equipped with players who can lead the team to victory in bench-clearing brawls. Oh, goody.

I have officially spent too much time thinking about this waste of money and roster space. I'm going to bed.


Ray W said...

Well at the time Nelson wasn't a free agent.....

Minda said...

Yes, but was there ANY reason to jump all over someone like Farnsworth? I don't think so.

It seems like Moore panicked and acquired crap rather than waiting to see what would actually be available.

keith said...

It gets harder to swallow after every cheap reliever signs. :-(