Sandy Alderson passes on Fernando Rodney to sign Kyle Farnsworth

Kyle FarnsworthRumors floated around the past couple of weeks that the Mets were going to try to sign reliever Fernando Rodney. For some, this was disheartening because Rodney was going to be expensive considering his record. Rodney did sign a contract, but not with the Mets, and he was expensive — a two-year, $14 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. However, the Mets did not stand idle when it came to signing a reliever, as they signed RHP Kyle Farnsworth to a minor-league deal.

Farnsworth is obviously not as exciting as Rodney. This was evident in that one player was signing a big time contract, while the other was signing a contract that cordially invites him to re-establish himself at the big-kids table. Despite that Farnsworth is a low-level signing, it’s a great buy-low signing.

Farnsworth’s season in 2013 was not pretty. He had a ERA/FIP/xFIP line of 4.70/4.14/3.73, and he also compiled a WAR of -0.2. However, his pitching line shows some reason for optimism. His ERA was higher than his FIP, which indicates that he will probably regress back to the mean. The only problem is that his FIP — although lower than his ERA — wasn’t very good either.

The other thing that presents some hope for Farnsworth is his xFIP of 3.73. Many teams have bought into the idea of betting on xFIP when it comes to evaluating pitchers. Farnsworth’s former team, the Pirates, has had success this with guys like Mark Melancon. In 2012, Melancon had an ERA of 6.20 and an xFIP of 3.45. In 2013, Melancon was one of the best relievers in the game, with an ERA/FIP/xFIP line of 1.39/1.64/2.05. Melancon provides hope for ERA/xFIP differentials.

When there’s hope, there’s also reality. While Farnsworth’s velocity on his fastball was higher in 2013 than it was in 2012, all his other pitches suffered at least a two MPH drop in velocity. Unless your name is Mariano Rivera, declining velocity for a reliever is an indication that bad things are coming.

Then again, Farnsworth only pitched 38 innings, and was dealing with some elbow issues during all of last year. It could be a case where Farnsworth just needs the offseason to get his elbow feeling healthy again.

Overall, this looks like a signing with some upside. Farnsworth’s numbers aren’t pretty, but that’s what makes it a buy-low signing. Should we expect Farnsworth to be the most dominant reliever in the game? No. However, if the Mets can get 50-60 quality innings out of him, then we can consider this signing a success. Hopefully, Farnsworth can carry on the tradition of success that Sandy Alderson has had with signing other players to minor-league deals.

10 comments for “Sandy Alderson passes on Fernando Rodney to sign Kyle Farnsworth

  1. Name
    February 9, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Title is misleading. Also, comparing a 37 year old Farnsworth to a 28 year old Melancon is just grasping at straws. Farnsworth been bad more often than good during his career (just 2 good season in the last 8 years), nothing solid or upside with him. Let’s hope we never see him in a Met uniform in 2013.

    • Chris F
      February 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      My Tiger fan friends just laughed. Like you said, let’s hope he never has a locker in Queens.

  2. February 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Good news everyone! We signed a washed up pitcher who threw flat heat during his prime. This will only make the team that much better.

  3. Joe Gomes
    February 9, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    This is the Mets version of being smart. First they don’t sign Hawkins, a better pitcher for less money, then they try to compare a useless pitcher to Rodney who has been an elite closer.

    Sandy and his clowns are just too smart for me to understand their combined logic.

    They could have signed Peralta, Beltran, Byrd, Kazmir, Hawkins for about the same money but instead they sign Chris Young who is useless, Granderson who bats about 240, Colon who is 40 and we still have the same holes they had last year at 1B, 2B, SS. They are just too smart for me.

  4. Kookie
    February 9, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Safety in numbers maybe? Just like 1B 4 candidates means it’s likely you get a guy that will do the job.

  5. Herb
    February 9, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I’m fine with this. I see Frank Francisco written all over Fernando Rodney. He had 1 good year in his last 7, gives up 4.5 BB/9, has a 1.35 WHIP. Farnesworth could be this year’s Hawkins, but if not he’s out of the mix. No risk! And there are still several very high ceiling relievers out there waiting to be signed. Hanrahan, Bailey, Madson, Valverde, Ollie, . . . er, . . hold on, did I just say Ollie? WTF!

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words as it is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  6. Meticated
    February 10, 2014 at 6:52 am

    If the Mets win 81 games we should collectively dance like Snoopy throws down…This team ,is remarkably similar to last years model, with a little smoke and mirrors thrown in to appease the irate fans…who btw aren’t bringing their hard earned to Illuminati Field any time soon Ms. Wilpon…because they’re up to their overleveraged keesters in payments to alleviate sunken costs, and moreover, the revenue from the turnstiles without the alienated fandom doesn’t offset their onerous indebtedness…so, it’s a charade, a tragi-comedy, a mockery, a sham, played out on our own off-off-Broadway as if we were hayseeds, and Mets v.2014 were debuting in Omaha…anyone fortunate enough to not be under the ether of this offseasons mediocre free agent acquisitions (of players who simply won’t make any appreciable difference to the end result), will sit back and agonizingly wait another season for the prodigal offspring of our farm system to become able bodied and finally, inexorably,… blissfully bail out this sinking albatross of a big market small mentality ballclub…suspension of disbelief be damned!…Oh Stengel…alas, we knew you well

    • Chris F
      February 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

      pretty much what he said ^
      nice job Meticated. (although I like Grandy if only to have more than a bunch a AAA players!)

  7. Patrick Albanesius
    February 10, 2014 at 11:07 am

    So the choice is either Farnsworth as an insurance signing at the bare minimum cost, or Rodney and his walk rate at $14 million? I’ll take Farnsworth, thank you very much.

  8. Chris F
    February 10, 2014 at 11:16 am

    That’s hardly all the options out there. Why either?

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