Late Wednesday night the Mets cut ties with Kyle Farnsworth, saving the remainder of his contract and earning the ire of the veteran reliever. The Mets are off the hook for the rest of his $1 million contract. What they did was perfectly within their rights but it seems like nothing more than a financially-motivated, penny-pinching move – one that left Farnsworth understandably upset. Here’s how Mike Puma of the New York Post reported it:
Asked about his plans, Farnsworth said, “Hopefully find a team to play against this team.”
He added: “I’m very bitter right now.”
Farnsworth had been the team’s closer for a while this season, taking over for Jose Valverde, who took over for Bobby Parnell. In his last game with the club, which happened on May 12, Farnsworth worked a scoreless ninth inning and picked up his third save of the year.
The veteran had a 3.18 ERA, compared to a 3.86 ERA for Mets’ relievers as a group. He did have one weakness in his game in that he was not suited to pitch in back-to-back games. Five times this season, Farnsworth pitched in consecutive games and in those outings, he allowed 3 ER in 3.1 IP. In games where he had at least one day between outings, Farnsworth gave up 3 ER in 13.2 IP, good for a 1.98 ERA.
It seems weird to think that the Mets could not manipulate their roster to ensure that Farnsworth was given a day of rest between outings. The same team that has no trouble making sure their LOOGY faces one of the highest percentages of LHB in the majors should have been able to make this adjustment with ease. Even without extra preferential treatment, Farnsworth was still better than the average reliever on the team and certainly better than the LOOGY.
Overall, my reaction to this move is one of ambivalence. It’s troubling that the Mets are continuing their pattern of not addressing the real trouble with their bullpen – managing it to maximize the effectiveness of the guy who pitches the fewest amount of innings and who faces the fewest batters, all other pitchers be damned.
But Farnsworth is not the future of this team and his presence will not make or break the 2014 club. It’s past time that the Mets start giving chances to their young pitchers and this will open up a spot for Josh Edgin, who will hopefully establish himself as a pitcher who can pitch on back-to-back days while facing both lefties and righties.
In an ideal world, Edgin settles in and pitches well as a normal reliever in the next two weeks. Then, when Dillon Gee gets activated from the DL, Jacob deGrom moves from the rotation into the pen and the Mets cut ties with the LOOGY who has to be manipulated more than Farnsworth and who has pitched worse, too.
As for Farnsworth, I fully expect him to wind up on the Phillies. There he would join a team comprised of many other players his age and give him a chance to extract revenge on the Mets. It seems like an ideal fit for player and team.
As for the Mets, perhaps that roughly $750K that they saved by saying goodbye to Farnsworth will go towards paying a shortstop. Wouldn’t that be nice?