Sunday, July 31, 2005

What is Farns-worth?

Apparently he's worth very little. The Tigers traded Farnsworth to the Braves for two quarts of oil and some water balloons just before the trade deadline. The Tigers started the season with a bullpen featuring Troy Percival, Ugie Urbina, and Kyle Farnsworth. A grand total of zero of those players are still with the team. This trade tells us three things 1). Dombrowski felt that re-signing Farnsworth was going to be difficult 2). The Tigers feel good about Franklyn German and Fernando Rodney and 3). Dombrowski realizes that making the playoffs is probably not going to happen.

German and Rodney have been very impressive. Jamie Walker has also been dependable. I'm a big proponent of trading commodities when the situation presents itself. The Tigers are not going to pass seven teams to earn the AL wild card spot. I understand that signing Farnsworth in the off-season was never a guarantee so it's possible that Dombrowski decided it was better to cash him in than wait and possibly get nothing. If that was the case, then I think he did the right thing. I also understand that Rondell White's shoulder injury made it nearly impossible find a team willing to take him.

I'm really only perplexed by the fact that Jason Johnson and Mike Maroth are both still with the team. From all accounts, the buyers far outweighed the sellers at the deadline. This should've meant good things for the Tigers. I don't see either pitcher being a long term solution in the starting rotation. Neither pitcher will ever be significanly better than they are right now. Neither has been dependable at any point in their career. I probably would've traded Jason Johnson for pretty much anything since he'll be a free agent. Though, there is no guarantee that anybody was inquiring about him. There must be a fondness for Maroth in the front office but a 28 year old, soft-tossing right-hander is not a pillar of a franchise. I was hoping Dombrowski would unload a little more. I might be in the minority but if they're trading Farnsworth, they should've tried hard to trade Johnson and/or Maroth. I suppose it's possible that there were no takers.


Tony said...

The thing about trading guys in free agent years is that unless they truly fit another teams needs, and/or are a premium player, you generally don't get a whole lot in return.

Farnsworth was someone who I thought the Tigers would try and keep. He was in his prime, and while I like Walker, he is not a top notch closer, but rather a very dependable left handed set up guy. German has been touted for a while as the future, but even with his development, I still felt he was a few years away. So I'm not exactly sure what a Farns-worth is.

A look at the new Tigers...

Ramon Colon
He's from the Dominican and was signed by the Braves as a 16 year old. He's never shown dominant power stuff. He's now 25 (26 in 2 weeks) and didn't figure in Atlanta's future. Going into this year his minor league career ERA was 3.90 with a whip of 1.35. Though, over the course of the past few years he's starting showing improvement. Still, unless he continues to show development, he is a middle relief guy, and a dime a dozen. If the Atlanta system didn't get him much better after almost 9 years, good luck Bob Cluck (no rhyming intended)

Zack Miner
A 23 year old, and 4th round pick in 2000 out of high school. He had reached AAA this year, with more power than potential than Colon. Unfortunately, he too, seems to be a slow developer. After a solid 2002 campaign in low-A ball, he took a step back in high A ball in 03, though still respectable numbers. However, in 2004, he was promoted to AA and while his K rate improved, everything else showed he was outmatched. He started this year in AA, and while he gave up a few runs, he seemed to have caught up to the AA competition, and was promoted to AAA, where he again seemed a step behind. Still at 23 years old, he was rather young for AAA, and he seems to take a while to adjust. He is definetly the guy the Tigers see promise in, but he is in no way, shape, or form, in the class of Verlander, Zumaya, or even Sleeth and Ledezma. He still has the potential to be a contributer.

So when Jake says two quarts of oil, and some water balloons, he's not trying to sell you a bag of anything.

While Farnsworth appears to have more value to the tigers, he is still someone that hasn't shown he can close yet, and has shown that he can be a hothead, and spear someone, and hurt his team by being suspended. In the end, we got 2 prospects that have nothing going for them other than they are close to the big leagues.

So what could Jason Johnson or Maroth have given us. The thing with Maroth is he isn't a free agent, meaning, we may not have just let him go for a squirt gun and a half tank of gas. Even if he doesn't fit in the picture long term, he probably presents a safer bet than Verlander next year. Even if Verlander replaces Johnson, who as a free agent, likely won't be back, the Tigers will still pursue a pitcher in the offseason. With guys like Pudge, and Mags, I think it could be better for the clubhouse, to have guys who have proven themselves in the bigs, even if only at a mediocore Maroth level, than go with the ups and downs of a youngster. Then again, I'm as big of a Verlander fan as they come, and I'm anxious to see him form one of the best tandems with Bonderman.

So what could we have gotten for Johnson? Some toothpicks and a mechanical pencil? The Tigers will at least receive some a compensatory pick in next years draft, and who knows, maybe the Tigers will strike gold again like they did with Zumaya (11th round). If we trade him, we don't get the pick. Still I'm not sure what round we'll get a pick in for Johnson, but with him being established, I'd have to guess it would have been higher for him than with Farnsworth.

I'm sure Dumbrowski did his homework, and nothing was really tickling his fancy. But, if the team really felt they still had a shot, why trade the only guy with any real closing experience.

All in all, I don't know if it matters. We weren't going to get a top prospect, so a water balloon or matchbook compensatory pick doesn't make much difference. This isn't the 03 Tigers anymore, a warm body won't be playing for this team, so some guy struggling in AAA isn't going to be the answer anyway.

Tony said...

Now I'm a bit perplexed. According to an article by Tigers Insider Danny Knobler, the Tigers would have gotten 2 first round picks if Farnsworth left via free agency. Dumbrowski apparantly talked up Colon, but I have no real idea why, and he apparantly felt Colon and Miner were better for the organization than 2 first round picks. I think the picks would have been a sandwich pick, meaning it comes after all teams pick in the first round, and before they pick again in the second, and the second pick would likely come from which ever team signed him.

The Tigers did have a 3 year, 10 million dollar deal on the table, but Kyle wanted to test free agency, but it's still possible that he will be brought back for next year, though then I think the Tigers would lose a pick.

Still, I don't know how he was worth that high of picks, but now I'm a bit confused why we didn't take the draft picks. We have a few good minor league prospects, and some alright depth, but 2 first rounders could have helped this team more than two guys who I don't see ever really helping this team out. To me Miner seems just like Andrew Good and Jason Grilli, and even Drumwright and Drew (some classic Tiger prospect busts)

Anonymous said...

The reason is that Dombrowski got those two players for free if he thinks he can re-sign Farnsworth. How many teams that will be players in FA next year need a closer? None. What will Farnsworth do in Atlanta? Set-up man who will not prove himself as a closer to collect that big check he wants. Tigers offered him a three or four year deal at 3.5 mill a year and he said no because he wanted big closer money.

So even if he gets a chance in Atlanta then good for everyone because he proves he can close and the Tigers will have to pony up a few more bucks. But if not they get him cheaper than they can get him now and get two prospects for free.

Oil, grease, toothpick, lumber, and hydrogen that one for later.

Anonymous said...

PS: Alan Trammell stinks. Did you hear that a few players heard him say "the game is over" when they were down by seven to Seattle? He's the Monte Clark of baseball managers. Bring on Sweet Lou please.


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