ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the New York Yankees have filled their vacant catcher’s spot by trading reliever Kyle Farnsworth to the Detroit Tigers for Pudge Rodriguez.

It’s fairly obvious why the Yankees would do this. Without the injured Jorge Posada for the rest of the season, the team would have been relying on Jose Molina to get way too many at-bats between now and October. Molina has an OPS of .586 and a negative offensive Win Share of -1.4 so far in 2008 and that just won’t do for anyone, let alone the vaunted Yankees.

Pudge is having a decent bounce back year after posting a horrid .294 OBP last season. While he won’t match the offensive output that a healthy Posada can achieve, the new Yank is a defensive upgrade and can still hold his own at the plate.

But my initial reaction was why Detroit would do this. Upon a bit more reflection, I’m thinking that this makes some sense. Make no mistake, the Tigers are not throwing in the towel and this is not a salary dump. GM Dave Dombrowski loves a good bullpen power arm, and with the uncertainty surrounding the health of flamethrowers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, coupled with the ineffectiveness of Todd Jones, Dombrowski pulled the trigger to bolster their troubled pen.

Farnsworth’s fastball regularly clocks in around 95-96 mph, and he also has a slider that he uses when he’s ahead of the count. His main problem this year has been the long ball, giving up 11 in just over 44 innings. Ouch. When it first opened in 2000, Comerica Park was known as a hard place to hit homeruns, but this has actually reversed itself over the past couple seasons. So we’ll have to see if Farnsworth will have better luck avoiding the dinger in Detroit. This does not, however, solve their problem of relying heavily on closer Todd Jones. The righty Farnsworth will probably take the innings that used to be thrown by Rodney, who sports a 5.40 ERA.

At this point this is merely speculation, but I’m assuming that Brandon Inge is going to take over regular catching duties for the Tigers unless there’s another trade up Detroit’s sleeve within the next day. Inge is a far better defensive player at third base than he is behind the plate, but he is serviceable. Offensively, he’s not that much worse than Pudge although he does strikeout a ton.  So the Tigers upgrade their bullpen, downgrade their backstop defense, and take a small step back offensively.

And who’s going to fill the set-up role that Farnsworth is vacating in the Bronx? Good question. Unless they call up a lefty from Scranton, I don’t think it’s going to be Damaso Marte who was acquired along with Xavier Nady just a few days ago because he’s currently the only southpaw in the Yankees pen. Perhaps it will be Edwar Ramirez or Jose Veras, both of whom have become big parts of the relief corps in 2008 despite their relative lack of experience at the big league level.

Both Farnsworth and Rodriguez are free agents at the end of the season as well, so although the Yankees take on the bigger contract (prorated), it’s nearly a wash financially considering the Yankees’ resources.

I like this deal more from the NY perspective than I do Detroit’s, but at least it’s something that makes sense for the Tigers as well.

Note: It’s been brought to my attention by a little thing called “research” that techincially, Jones was deposed as closer by Rodney a few days ago. This doesn’t affect the evaluation or anything, but just in case someone wants to cause an uproar over the error, I’m doing it for you.

16 Responses to “Yanks Get Pudgier”

  1. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, the first rule of fantasy baseball pitching is that you always start all of your pitchers every chance possible. Unlike say, fantasy football, baseball is too close to a .500 game, and too unpredictable to play matchups like that.

    So you should just play all of your pitchers all the time, because at least you will get more of the counting stats, like strikeouts, that way. Inevitably, some of your pitchers are going to get hammered on some days, but if they are truly good pitchers, the numbers are going to even out over a full season.

    But if you don’t play them every week due to matchups, you are going to miss out on that evening out effect and might actually come out on the bad side of the evening out, and meanwhile you are definitely going to be missing out on precious counting stats.

    This principle also goes for hitters as well. Baseball is just too unpredictable in the short term – only long term outcomes can be (sort of) predicted.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, that is interesting advice. I began the season with that in mind, but I seemed to be routinely getting hammered week in and week out, losing all of my pitching averages. Maybe my pitchers just aren’t very good pitchers. :(

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, I mean I guess theirs no cure for not having the right horses in the race. If you don’t have good arms, then you don’t have good arms.

    But all I really want to say is, if you are going to bet on a horse, then you have to bet on him completely. If you estimate that a pitcher is going to end up with a 3.75 ERA and 200 strikeouts by the end of the season, then you should play him every day and hopefully by the end the numbers will be there

    But baseball is just so crazy and random that it is too hard to predict from week to week whether a pitcher is going to do well or not (unless you have other information, like he is playing through an injury or something). The difference between the best lineup in baseball and the worst lineup in baseball just isn’t great enough to reliably manifest itself in any single game. Just think of how many times a lineup like the Yankees’ is randomly shut down by some team’s 4th starter who just happened to have a good day. That’s why we need all of 162 games to see these larger trends.

  4. Kirk Miller says:

    Good advice Nick. My feeling is that if they are not good enough to play then don’t even have ’em on your roster. That being said, sometimes it is advisable at the end of the week to bench a pitcher (or rarely, a hitter) if they can only hurt you in rate stats because the counting stats are out of reach one way or the other.

    My team played well this week. I managed to survive a same-day meltdown by Contreras and Litsch. Luckily, I had some great performances earlier in the week so I had a large cushion to absorb all those runs and hits. It felt good to sweep pitching for the week. My offense is still under-performing for the most part, but I did manage to grab 3 cats. I am still taking heart in the fact that I am in the thick of the hunt for the top 6 seeds.

    This has been a fun season and it’s shaping up to be an exciting finish.

  5. with how hot he is right now, you’d think Dan Uggla could try and relax a little and not look so scared shitless.

  6. dammit that didnt work. it was his team photo.

  7. melissa says:

    I’m a bit shocked that Detroit decided to relive the Kyle Farnsworth experience. It’s been reported at that Dombrowski called the Yankees to initiate this deal which I really don’t get. I know their bullpen is troubled but regardless of the questions they have there, Farnsworth certainly isn’t the answer. I think this deal benefits the Yankees a great deal since they were not going to count on Farnsworth and Pudge is a great addition behind the plate for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cashman makes a deal for another arm to put in their bullpen before the deadline. The Yankees two best moves may have been getting Hawkins and Farnsworth out of their pen.

    That picture of Farnsworth taking down Paul Wilson was by far his finest moment as a Cub. It was a really bad idea for Wilson to charge the mound.

  8. Nick Kapur says:

    The new setup man is going to be Jose Veras. The Yankees had already been gradually displacing Farnsworth with Veras as the setup man in recent games. The emergence of Veras is probably what gave them the confidence to deal Farnsworth, not that it was too hard for them to deal Farnsworth. After all, he’s freaking Kyle Farnsworth.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    Farnsworth is the sort of player who will always catch an opposing GM’s eye, because he throws so freakin’ hard. But that’s all he does: throw. Not pitch. In this respect, he’s not unlike that really hot chick you have a crush on until you start dating her, whereupon you realize that she has nothing interesting to say/a really annoying laugh/bad breath/herpes. Make no mistake. After a few rough innings, Dombrowski will see the light.But by then, it will be too late.

  10. Detroit should know better though, they have already gone out with the Farns. The Farns went to Detroit after he left the Cubs and they promptly realized he sucked and shipped him off to Atlanta in 2005. Meet the new Kyle, same as the old Kyle.

  11. Sarah Green says:

    Ah, Melissa, how right you are! Of course. Perhaps right now, Dombrowski is looking dreamily at the Farns and thinking “he’s changed.”

    Well, he’ll learn.

  12. Lyndsay says:

    the yanks are looking scarier by the minute.

    the sox? mmm, not so much.

    I STILL stand by Manny for Holliday and Fuentes. I’ll even throw in Michael Bowden since we know Colorado is looking for a starting pitcher. AND, Craig Hansen, because we know he’s worthless. he’ll be like the “buy one get one free” in it.

    my question in the pudge deal though is, what happens to Molina? I assumed he would automatically take over the everyday role in Posada’s absence – he’s certainly capable of it. so I don’t see where Pudge is really necessary? somebody help me out here.

  13. Lyndsay says:

    ah yes – Lyndsay should have read the WHOLE article – offensive output is not there for Molina – and I just answered my own question, nevermind.

  14. Nick Kapur says:

    Lyndsay, Molina was the problem. He was OPS’ing only .581, which is pathetic. The Yankees felt they needed some more offensive production behind the dish.

  15. Coley Ward says:

    Lyndsay, I don’t get it. You think the Red Sox should trade Manny for Holliday and Fuentes? I’m sure Boston would love to make that trade, but I can’t imagine a world where the Rockies would agree to that. Holliday is in his prime and is a better player than Manny right now, offensively and defensively. And Fuentes is no slouch, either. Plus he’ll net the Rockies two draft picks when he leaves via free agency next season.

  16. Sarah Green says:

    Yeah, the problem with trading Manny to the Rockies is that they want to rebuild…not get older. Which is why the Boston-LA-Pittsburgh trade makes so much sense. The Sox dump Manny, the Pirates get prospects, and the Dodgers get older (yessss! shouts Colletti, pumping his fist). Everybody wins!

Leave a Reply

    Recent Comments

    • planet hobbywood: This is very interesting.
    • Bren: He is a awesome player and a good man.. sweet.. polite.. friendly.. down to earth.. he never acted as though he...
    • HADAJUN( Japanese): Okajima a Japanese hero?
    • Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor league baseball in the Orioles...
    • HADAJUN: I wish for play in Japan. The death is regrettable.


    Subscribe via email

    Enter your email address:


Featured posts

December 5, 2011

Will anybody get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Last week, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The verdict? If it were up to UmpBump readers, nobody would make it in. The leading vote getter (so far) is Jeff Bagwell, who has 60% support. Of course, in the real voting, players need […]

January 5, 2011

Annual UmpBump Hall of Fame Balloting: 2011 Edition

In what has become an annual tradition, we here at UmpBump cast our ballots for the Hall of Fame on the eve of the announcements of the voting for the real Hall of Fame. Voters can vote for anyone ever who has been retired from baseball for at least five years and is not already […]

October 19, 2010

Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Managers of All Time

Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was. As usual, we […]