(From Nashville Skyline)
Kyle Farnsworth. Two years, $9 million. Really, Dayton?
In general, I think Dayton Moore has done a solid job since he took over as Royals general manager. By all accounts, the farm system is better, especially the pitching, than it was in 2006. The major league product has gotten better, going from 62 to 69 to 75 wins. It certainly looks and feels like the Royals are building something, and there will be some exciting baseball here in Kansas City soon.
But Dayton is human. Humans make mistakes. Mistakes like giving Kyle Farnsworth $9 million over the next two years.
First off, I don't like Farnsworth's personality. He's the sort of guy who, in a rather famous 2005 fight between the Royals and Tigers, ran around the scrum in the middle of the field to pick up and bodyslam Jeremy Affeldt, who had in no way been involved in the fight. He's had a couple of other on-field incidents. Of course, it will be nice for the Royals to have a pitcher who isn't afraid to throw inside once in a while.
Second, I just cannot see how Farnsworth is worth $4.5 million for the next two years. This is a guy whose lifetime ERA is 4.47. As a reliever. Just for comparison, Joel Peralta's lifetime ERA is 4.45. Both of these gentlemen are 32 years old. Both give up about 1.4 homers per 9 innings (1.37 for Farnsworth, 1.45 for Peralta). Even better, Peralta's lifetime strikeout/walk ratio is 2.98 K/BB. Farnsworth's is 2.25. Now, it is true that Farnsworth has a 1.00 K/IP ratio, while Peralta's is .77. But Peralta's lifetime WHIP is 1.267, while Farnsworth's is 1.404. I'm willing to bet a large sum of money you would not find a Royals fan anywhere who would give Joel Peralta $9 million over the next two years. Despite his 95 mph fastball, I'm not sure any Royals fan would give that money to Kyle Farnsworth, either.
My third objection to this deal is that, as always for the Royals, dollars must be spent wisely. If the Royals really intend to sign SS Rafael Furcal this winter, they are going to need to do some major maneuvering to keep their payroll under control. Already, they will be spending $75 million next year, when they have stated they intend to have a $70 million payroll. I'm already sure Farnsworth will not be worth the money; if the Royals miss out on a real chance at an upgrade in Furcal or 2B Orlando Hudson, or if they have to deal a useful player like Mark Teahen, this signing will be terrible.
Now, to be fair, I have to say that so far Dayton has been very good at building a talented, useful bullpen. That is why I did not mind the trades that brought Mike Jacobs and Coco Crisp to KC. But he hasn't been perfect--see Yasuhiko Yabuta and Brett Tomko, essentially a combined waste of $9 million or so. And this move seems destined to be more like those signings.
On a somewhat related note, the Royals added relief pitchers Horacio Ramirez and Doug Waechter at the winter meetings. I like both of these moves better. The Royals say Ramirez will be a starter, but I just don't see it. He was a fine reliever for the Royals last year before they traded him for an outfield prospect, Paulo Orlando. My guess is he starts the year as a long reliever and only sees the rotation if Brian Bannister or Luke Hochevar falter. Waechter is intriguing, a one-time starter for Tampa Bay who had a successful season as a reliever for Florida last year. I'd guess right now that, for $2.4 million, these two will have a more positive impact on the Royals' 2009 season than Kyle Farnsworth.