Tag: Kyle Farnsworth

Ranking the Best Remaining Players the Marlins Could Invite to Spring Training

We’re less than a month away from when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, so it’s time to assess what the Miami Marlins need and who is still out there to be had.

But before we begin, let’s check the Marlins shopping list and see if there’s anything the Marlins forgot to buy.

An offensively skilled catcher? Check. The Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year contract worth $21 million. 

A power-hitting first baseman? Check. The Marlins signed Garrett Jones to a two-year deal worth $7.75 million.

An upgrade at second base? Check. The Marlins signed Rafael Furcal to a one-year agreement worth $3 million. Furcal can also earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Fixing the black hole known as third base? Check. The Marlins signed Casey McGehee to a one-year pact worth $1.1 million. McGehee can also earn an extra $400,000 in performance bonuses. 

About the only item still on the Marlins shopping cart is a veteran reliever, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, especially after the Marlins nontendered Ryan Webb, who signed with the Baltimore Orioles, while Chad Qualls inked a deal with the Houston Astros

Looking back at last season, the Marlins signed Qualls and Jon Rauch and they had a few commonalities. For starters, both guys signed a one-year pactQualls on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training while Rauch joined the Marlins on a $1 million contract. The other commonality they had was Qualls and Rauch had experience in high-leverage situationsQualls has 51 career saves while Rauch had 62—which might come in handy as Steve Cishek was penciled in as the team’s full-time closer. 

Now, the Marlins are probably looking to add a reliever or two in the same mold as Qualls and Rauch even though Rauch was designated for assignment six weeks into the 2013 season while Qualls (5-2 record, 2.61 ERA in 62 innings) exceeded expectations. 

Without further ado, in descending order, here are the best remaining available free agent relievers the Marlins could target for an invitation to spring training or sign to a major league contract.

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MLB Free Agency: 9 Best Potential Bargains Still Available

The latest free-agent buzz in Major League Baseball has surrounded three clients of Scott Boras, all currently left out in the cold of winter with spring training fast approaching.

Rafael Soriano, Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn have yet to find new homes this offseason, in large part because all three are attached to draft-pick compensation after their former employers extended them qualifying offers.

Ultimately, Boras may get his clients the paydays they are seeking. However, unless the signing teams finished in the bottom ten in the overall standings last season, it’ll cost them a first-round pick to sign any of the Boras guys.

Rather than pony up the big bucks and a first-round pick, most teams would be wise to do their remaining winter shopping in the bargain aisles.

Need another outfielder but don’t want to shell out for Bourn? Scott Hairston remains available.

Need another starting pitcher but aren’t quite sold on Lohse as a frontline guy? Jeff Karstens, Shaun Marcum or Joe Saunders can provide value in the middle of your rotation for a reasonable sum.

And, if you need another right-handed reliever, Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Lindstrom, Vicente Padilla or Brandon Lyon can pitch at the back-end of your bullpen.

Finally, in a tepid second-base market, Kelly Johnson remains available with virtually no reported interest to this point in the offseason.

(All statistics are from Baseball Reference and all contractual data is from Cot’s Baseball Contracts).

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Bronx Bombs: Ten Years of Yankees Pitching Duds

Quacky curmudgeon Scrooge McDuck had a giant silo of gold coins to swim in.  Eccentric pop icon Michael Jackson owned the Elephant Man’s dirty old bones.  “Big Pants” MC Hammer bought a $12 million mansion that housed nearly 20 racehorses. 

Just because you have loads of cash doesn’t mean you always spend it wisely.

Theatrical New York Yankees radio announcer John Sterling has often chuckled and stated, “You can’t predict baseball”.  To be fair, Sterling churns out a lot of goofy jibber-jabber on a daily basis, but ol’ John really hit the pinstriped nail on the head with that one.

You can be certain any lifelong Yankees fan has heard many a naysayer spin yarns about the team winning numerous World Championships by buying All-Star caliber teams.  The team’s General Manager is named “Cashman” after all. 

The hole in that theory is that play on the field and deep pockets don’t naturally go hand in hand.  Sure, piles of dough can assure that a team can be competitive, but money doesn’t account for injury, team chemistry, or that all-important Rudy-ish “fight in the dog” spirit. 

Simply stated:  Loads of dollars do not a championship make.  Need further proof?  Go count the number of rings on Jason Giambi’s fingers.

For all its success, superstars, and timeless tradition, the so-called “Evil Empire” hasn’t been free from bad signings, especially when it comes to the mound on East 161st Street in the Bronx.  In the blink of an eye, good intentions go sour like milk in the summer sun and what may seem like a wise investment can go flat in a season’s time. 

60 feet, six inches.  Sometimes that short distance can be quite the journey.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: 5 Players to Sell High on ASAP

Stock traders know all about the buy low, sell high philosophy.  So do fantasy baseball owners.   

To win in fantasy baseball, you have to get guys on the cheap who turn out to provide a lot of bang for little buck over a short period of time, and then you have to trade those same players away when their values are at their highest points in order to acquire better players who will help you win your league.

Two-plus months into the season there are several hitters and pitchers who are exceeding expectations, and chances are they are not going to keep up their frenetic paces, whether it is because they will get injured, lose their jobs, or come crashing back to earth. 

Here are five players I would trade now before their fantasy values start dropping like afternoon soap operas.  Deal them away for solid fantasy performers before they realize they are playing over their heads, or else wind up stuck with them at the All-Star break when their trade values dry up.  

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Jamie Moyer May Perhaps Find Himself in Cooperstown One Day

Jamie Moyer has continued to prove his doubters wrong each and every time he picks up the baseball, but after another surgery his career may just be over.

In the beginning of the season Moyer, 47, had the same amount of wins as perennial Cy-Young contender, Roy Halladay. Moyer and Halladay may have been members of the same team, but they could not have been more different.

Halladay has been blessed with a golden arm, able to touch the mid 90’s on occasion. Moyer on the other hand has never been able to come close to that speed. He has lived his life by throwing in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, speeds that wouldn’t even get him a glance from a Division 1 baseball coach.

However, Moyer has proved to people that it is not how hard you throw, but where. Moyer has won 267 games in his career and even more impressive, more of his wins have come in his 40’s than when he was in his 20’s.

It’s been an improbable journey that may end up taking him to the Hall Of Fame as a pitcher that just didn’t quite fit the mold. It’s for that reason that many kids look up to Moyer.

Many children will have their dreams of playing in the majors end after high school because they “do not throw hard enough.” Many college coaches don’t seem to realize that there’s more to pitching than just throwing hard.

In all fairness, there aren’t many pitchers that can throw in the upper 90’s. Fans love to see pitchers light up the radar gun because it is rare to see. That fact is proven by the amount of media coverage given to Stephen Strasburg, No. 1 pick of the Washington Nationals last year.

ESPN broadcasted three of Strasburg’s starts while the other two were picked up by TBS and the MLB network. Watching a guy pitch with as much velocity as Strasburg can dish out is exciting for everyone, but there are stats that show it doesn’t always equate to success.

Kyle Farnsworth has always had a 100 mph fastball at his disposal meaning most would expect him to be the most dominating pitcher around, but that is not the case. Farnsworth has a career ERA of 4.38, not exactly the mark of a great pitcher.

Then there’s the case of a pitcher losing velocity as he gets older. Randy Johnson had lost his upper 90’s heat by the time he put on his pinstripes and suffered because of it. Johnson could not get batters out with any consistency and was out of baseball within three years.

This year, Johan Santana went through the same type of crisis while pitching for the New York Mets. His fastball averaged 89 mph, down six mph from his prime. It resulted in an up and down year.

Pitchers that throw hard have a tough time adjusting to learning how to pitch. They never had to hit corners and change speeds before thus leading them to be hit hard when age starts to wear on them. Pitchers that never could throw hard may not have as many chances to make their mark as their counterparts, but do have a longer shelf life.

Moyer may not have the wow factor that a power pitcher does, but for many kids dreaming of making it to the big leagues, he is their inspiration that one day they may get a chance.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Atlanta Braves New Acquisitions Must Step Up in Playoff Push

Although the Atlanta Braves have been leading the NL East for some time now, they made a number of trades to try and strengthen their team for the stretch run.

With the Phillies getting key players back in their lineup seemingly every day, the Braves were looking for guys like Rick Ankiel, Derek Lee, and Kyle Farnsworth to fill in some holes that the team had.

The Braves did well by not giving up any major prospects (although Tim Collins could be great, his value is limited by the fact that he is a reliever; the best prospect they gave up was Robinson Lopez, who has a high ceiling but is unpolished as of right now) and seemingly improved their ballclub.

However, if the Braves are going to be playing throughout October, the new arrivals will need to step up their play since they haven’t exactly set the world on fire since joining the Braves.

Thus far, Alex Gonzalez has been the only new arrival to play reasonably close to his expectations. Gonzalez has a better batting average (.267 to .259) in Atlanta but a lower slugging percentage and OPS. While Yunel Escobar has actually played better, the Braves have to be happy that unlike Escobar, Gonzalez isn’t a distraction who seems to have his head elsewhere during a pennant race.

Unlike Gonzalez, Lee, Ankiel, and Farnsworth haven’t given the Braves much of anything since coming to Atlanta.

In 20 games, Ankiel was hitting just .212 and slugging just .318. Gregor Blanco, a centerfielder the Braves sent to the Royals (who in my opinion, should have been given more of a chance after hitting .310 with the team earlier this year) has a .275 batting average and eight stolen bases (as well as .362 slugging percentage, which is bad but higher than Ankiel’s) in 18 games with the Royals.

Although The Farns had done well earlier this year with Kansas City, he has been terrible with the Braves, posting a 9.45 ERA in his first 6.2 innings pitched. Although he is striking out a ton of batters, walks (he has already allowed five) have been a problem.

Finally, we get to the Braves most recent acquisition, first baseman Derrek Lee.

Brought in after Chipper Jones was injured to give the Braves more pop in their lineup, Lee has sucked the life out of the cleanup spot. In his first five games with the club, Lee has just two hits (and eight strikeouts) in 19 at-bats.

To be fair to all the players acquired (especially Lee), it is important to note that they have only a small amount of at-bats in Atlanta. If any of the Braves new acquisitions were to go on a month long tear through the end of the season, they would end up with terrific numbers in a Braves uniform despite their slow starts.

With Utley, Howard, and Victorino all back in the Phillies lineup, the Braves will likely need some added offense to hold off Philadelphia over the remainder of the year. If Ankiel and Lee can start hitting like they have in the past, the Braves should finish strong and be playing into October. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Deadline: Braves Trade for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth

For Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, and Tim Collins, the Braves acquired the now infamous converted-pitcher Rick Ankiel and an old friend (save the 2005 NLDS) in Kyle Farnsworth (as well as come cash from the Royals).

That’s a right-handed reliever with a straight fastball, a AAAA outfielder (as much as we loved him in Atlanta), and a 5’7″ lefty with a huge ceiling and awesome stuff (308 Ks in 202.2 career MiLB innings) for two more-than-serviceable Major Leaguers.

Braves fans may be screaming the curses of Frank Wren for not acquiring a Josh Willingham or Cody Ross at this year’s deadline…but by acquiring a more-than-solid right-handed reliever and decent center fielder, Atlanta’s GM did the team a great service.

Regardless of what expectations might have been, this isn’t an awful trade by any stretch of the imagination.

Farnsworth gives the Braves a fresh-ish (44.2 innings in 2010) arm that has been very solid for an awful Royals team—posting a 2.42 ERA with a 3:1 K:BB ratio and near-career-best WHIP of 1.16.

In Ankiel, the Braves get a hot-hitting (he’s gotten a hit in six of eight games since returning from the DL with one homer and three doubles en route to 11 hits total), solid-defensing center fielder with the potential to slug a few homers down the stretch at full health.


Jesse Chavez—who provided more scares out of the bullpen than production.

Gregor Blanco—a no-power, slap-hitting outfielder whose speed off the bench could be easily replaced by AAA outfielder Willy Taveras.

And Tim Collins—a lefty reliever with a bright future.

So…that amounts to one high-quality piece and two “meh” guys for the Royals tandem headed to Atlanta.

Oh, and Medlen, Minor, Delgado, Teheran, Vizcaino, and others are still on the farm (all were tradeable…but they are nice pieces to still have in your back pocket).

No, this isn’t like acquiring Jose Bautista or Roy Oswalt…but it isn’t bad at all.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Trade Rumors: Kansas City Royals at the Deadline, Rumors A-Flyin’

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since my last post, I’ve gone out of town twice, bought a new car, worked nearly every day in between (pulling doubles three days a week), and have begun to prepare for a move to a new apartment.

This has left little time for blogging and little time for the Royals. Under new manager Ned Yost, the Royals are playing roughly .500 ball. This has been more a curse than a blessing, as the perception of success has led to hesitation in getting involved as sellers on the trade market.

Closing the gap to fewer than nine games out* gave the Royals what many perceived as a false sense of competitiveness. After the sweep and the subsequent middling play on the field, the Royals have been hovering around a dozen games out with the Indians jockeying for fourth place in the Central.

*I’ve been distracted, obviously, but it was either 7.5 or 8.5 games before the White Sox series heading into the break.

With reality having set in, the Royals have waded into the trade market as sellers, trading Alberto Callaspo to the Angels for Sean O’Sullivan—the most Irish player since Troy O’Leary—and Will Smith.

O’Sullivan is probably about as good as any of the mediocre starters currently in the Royals’ rotation not named Donald Zachary Greinke, which doesn’t exactly say much. Both he and Smith have uninspiring minor league track records that would seem to be a better fit for the Twins than the Royals. Neither have impressive K-rates, but both have had BB/9 under 2.5 in their minor league careers.

Drawing too much from their minor league numbers is not especially useful, as both had the misfortune of pitching for the Salt Lake Bees.

The then-highly-touted Nick Adenhart put up an ugly 5.76 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in Salt Lake the season before he made the opening day rotation, and Smith skipped Double-A when he was promoted to AAA-Salt Lake this year, so these things should be taken into account when evaluating what the Royals have gotten.

Smith found himself back in AA-Arkansas before the trade, but he definitely hasn’t been impressive since the initial promotion this season.

So for Alberto Callaspo, Dayton Moore netted two prototypical Twins pitchers. I can’t say that is particularly exciting. Then again, neither is Bert Calypso.

Now, since the Royals were initially so reticent to get into the trading game, their most enticing piece to trade is now out for the year. Timing is everything, and David DeJesus suffered a complete ligament tear in his right thumb while running into the wall at Yankee Stadium.

Now, one could certainly argue that the time to trade DeJesus and maximize the return was when there was still the perception that he could play center, but he is having a career year and is still signed to a club-friendly contract. The return could have been nice.

Oh well.

At least this means the Royals had to call up Alex Gordon. Maybe he’ll even get to play…

As sellers, the Royals do still appear to be looking to ship off their high-dollar guys. According to Ken Rosenthal , they are in talks with the Mets. Obviously (and unfortunately), Jeff Francoeur has been bandied about. Apparently, so have Gil Meche, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo.

If you had a hard time getting excited about Sean O’Sullivan and Will Smith, how about that mountain of crap the Royals could be picking from?

When Kyle Farnsworth is the player you’d most want out of this list (I’ve always had an irrational disdain for Luis Castillo), you are dealing with some undesirable pieces.

Oddly, since Oliver Perez and Gil Meche are both due $12 million next year, it might be useful to look at who could have the most upside in 2011. Sadly, that is probably Oliver Perez, as his left-handedness could at the very least mean that Dayton Moore won’t waste his energy turning over every rock on earth to find such southpawed garbage as Horacio Ramirez and Sidney Ponson.

Oh, right, and there’s also the fact that Gil Meche’s arm might actually fall off of his body the next time he steps on the mound. Given the ticking time bomb that Meche and his contract have been since Trey Hillman got his hands on him, Oliver Perez almost has to have a better shot of success than Meche does going forward.

If acquiring Castillo meant that Mike Aviles would be manning short with Yuniesky Betancourt being exiled to Cuba, then the addition of Castillo to the Royals would be palatable. Sadly, common sense is not something the Royals are blessed with, and Aviles would likely be riding the pine while the Yunicorn continued to infuriate the fanbase.

Frenchy for Farnsworth (their contracts match up)—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—would actually hurt the Royals. Farnsworth has been decent this year. He isn’t far from projecting as a Type B Free Agent according to the Elias Rankings at MLB Trade Rumors . Francoeur is abysmal. Furthermore, his presence would likely hinder other Royals who should be playing, namely Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier.

Apparently, it would take Guillen getting traded for the Royals to want to take on Francoeur, but this would just seem create the same problem that currently exists as a result of having Guillen on the roster: The Royals can’t find out what they’ve got in Kila Ka’aihue with Guillen taking all of the playing time.

There are conflicting reports that indicate that the Royals are not interested in Perez or Francoeur at all, but if last year’s acquisition of Yuniesky Betancourt has proven anything, it is that Dayton Moore always gets his man, no matter how crappy that man may be.

Now, in addition to Jose Guillen being on the block, it also appears as though Scott Podsednik’s recent hot streak has raised eyebrows, especially in the NL West. Both Guillen and Podsednik seem like perfect fits for San Francisco, what with Brian Sabean’s penchant for taking on over-the-hill veterans with little-to-no upside. If either of these guys can go anywhere, I’m for it. Hell, the Royals should pay someone else to take them.

If neither gets traded, then this is reminiscent of two years ago, when Ron Mahay’s value was at its peak on July 31, and he promptly injured himself in his first August game. It was all downhill from there, but it seemed like everyone and their sister needed a left-handed reliever that year, yet Mahay was a Royal come 2009.

Players like Mahay, Guillen, and Podsednik have little value on a team like the Royals. Amongst the two current Royals in that trio, each has been blocking younger players for the greater part of the season. It took a season-ending injury to David DeJesus for Alex Gordon to finally get another shot again. This is unacceptable.

With Kila waiting in the wings, Jose Guillen needs to be dealt. 

Now while we would all love to see Jason Kendall, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Rick Ankiel go, too, those three have zero value to other teams.  That is sad because they also have no value to the Royals. 

Given that teams actually appear to be interested in Guillen and Podsednik, and that Dayton Moore reportedly turned down a trade proposal from the Yankees that included Jesus Montero, I might actually be excited to see what happens come the weekend.  If Guillen and Podsednik are suiting up elsewhere, I’ll be pretty happy. 

I would like to thank the fellas over at MLB Trade Rumors.  Their hard work makes following all this possible.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Three Kansas City Pitching Prospects Could Help the Royals Win in 2010

Coming into the 2010 season, most Royals fans were wondering how much longer they’ll have to wait until some of the organization’s highly touted prospects will make their way to Kansas City.

The team has started the season with a 9-14 record, and is in a last-place tie with Chicago in the AL Central. And while the team’s record may be discouraging to most Royals fans, this team could easily be five wins better if not for horrendous bullpen pitching through the first four weeks of the season.

So let’s take a look at a few players, none of them named Aaron Crow or Mike Montgomery, who could very well turn the Royals fortunes around sooner rather than later in 2010.

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