The Kyle Konundrum

Jeff Marquez: consistently just okay
We won't really rock you

What good is a win without a little controversy? After a long wait — seven days, to be exact — the Yanks finally won a game as they, powered by three A-Rod hits, narrowly beat the A’s 2-1.

Mike Mussina pitched 7 strong innings against a team struggling as much as the Yanks were, and Mariano Rivera closed out the final 1.1 innings with 3 K’s to nail down his 10th save of the year. But what happened in between Moose’s departure and Rivera’s arrival was the story of the game.

To start the 8th inning, Joe Torre went with his typical game plan. Now, keep in mind that this game plan has worked approximately three times this year. That’s right; just three times this season, Farnsworth has worked 1-2-3 innings. As you can guess, tonight was not one of them.

Against the A’s, Farnsworth comes in and gets an out. He then gives up back-to-back hits. With runners on first and third, he fans Nick Swisher, but with the hot-hitting Jack Cust up and the game on the line, Torre goes to his pen. He brings in the future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, the man who should be pitching in that situation.

Farnsworth takes his removal with grace and aplomb. In the dugout, he throws his glove and his hat in his second tantrum this week. He then refuses to talk to the media after the game.

Now, in my opinion, Farnsworth has no right to act this way. He didn’t do the job, and Torre actually left him in for one batter too many. The Yanks are lucky Swisher struck out. Then, Farnsworth was replaced with quite possibly the greatest reliever of all-time. This fit was immature and totally unwarranted.

Around the Yankee blogs, writers are voicing their displeasure with Farnsworth, and many believe he won’t be with the team come August 1. That too was my initial reaction, but now, a few hours later, I’m not so sure mainly because the Yankees are in a position of utter weakness when it comes to dealing Farnsworth.

Right now, Kyle Farnsworth is an albatross around the Yankees’ neck. He’s in year two of a three-year, $17-million contract and is set to make $6 million in 2008. Worse, his 2007 are terrible. His ERA is hovering around 5.00 while his walks are up and strike outs are down. Opponents are hitting .288 against him, and he is no longer a viable option in the bullpen despite Torres stubborn tendencies to bring him in to close games.

The Yanks, then, are on the hook to pay $6 million to an ineffective reliever with personality and teammate issues. Other teams won’t want to assume all of that money and give the Yanks a player in return. That is, if Brian Cashman can convince another team to take on the headache that is Kyle Farnsworth.

So the Yanks have a decision to make. Do they keep Farnsworth because the returns on a trade would be minimal at best? Do they dump Kyle Farnsworth because he, along with Ron Villone and Luis Vizcaino, are dragging down a bullpen and wasting roster spots that should go to others? It’s a tough call, and one that won’t be easy to make. But one thing’s for sure: Joe shouldn’t look to Farnsworth late in close games anymore. That game plan just isn’t working.

Jeff Marquez: consistently just okay
We won't really rock you
  • Steve

    I think everyone can agree that the Yanks are just wasting Britton and Edwar down in AAA, and that they should have Myers and Villone/Farnsworth’s spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yanks suspend him for that, or just plain DFA him.

  • Ben

    They won’t DFA him. If he cleared waivers and is released outright – which is what would happen – the Yanks would have to pay him nearly $10 million. They won’t do that.

  • Zack

    We’d have to pay him anyways, so just trade him to the first team to offer somebody for him or the whole contract, either or. His ‘tude combined with Torre’s insistance on using him in the 8th inning despite all possible logic, means he is actively harming the team

  • Luddy Bazcej

    Farnsworth has value because he can hit 100mph on the gun ever day. Doesnt matter that he’s wishy washy or confrontational. Some team in need of bullpen help will give up something decent to get him.

  • Dan

    I agree Luddy, we might be able to get a solid backup catcher for him. We can easily replace him with better players in the minors

  • Luddy Bazcej

    We could try to send him to Philly, I think it’s been discussed before. Perhaps we could get Barajas and a minor leaguer back.

    If the deal could be done, maybe it could be expanded to get Aaron Rowland. Rowland is the type of guy the Yankees need in my opinion. Aways plays hard and brings a good attitude to the field every day.

    I wouldnt mind dealing one of our mid level pitching prospects like Ross Ohlendorf or Steven Jackson, with Farnsworth to make this happen. We could include Wil Nieves as well to sweeten the deal :)

  • The Scout

    What team will take Farnsworth at his full contract price and give any value in return? If you were Cashman and another GM offered you a hard-throwing reliever who has an ERA of 5, can’t strike out hitters in key situations, gives up too many walks, and and is owed another $10 million, would you make the deal? Of course not. So why assume another GM would be so stupid?

    The Yankees will look to dump Farnsworth and some of his contract, probably when the trade deadline approaches. Maybe he’ll be part of a package for something useful; maybe the Yankees will take some other team’s failure in an exchange of reclamation projects.

  • Mike A.

    There are so many teams out there looking for relief help that Cash will probably get 2 or 3 decent offers for him. Yeah his ERA is high and his K’s are down, but some team out there with a good pitching coach will think they can turn him around. If not, some team will be so desperate for bullpen help that’ll make an offer.

    Maybe I’m a minority, but I don’t think Cash will have any trouble getting rid of Farnsworth if he really wanted too. Look how long it took Bradley and Barrett to get traded (Bradley actually was “traded” twice).

  • Luddy Bazcej

    Quite right, just because the Yankees are down on him doesnt mean that another organization will be. History has shown that new coaching and environments can work wonders for people who have skill.

  • Stuart

    get rid of Farnsworth along with villone,and myers.. all 3 of them should be removed the sooner the better…

  • tihopilik


    I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but shrug. I just don’t have anything to say recently.