Should the Phillies Go After Kyle Farnsworth?

Reliever Kyle Farnsworth was released by the New York Mets last night, as Wednesday was the deadline on his advance consent agreement, which allowed the Mets to pay him for 45 days as opposed to a full season. The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been nearly as bad as the Phillies’, but it has been in a similar state of flux. That the Mets released him is odd, considering he only would have been paid $1 million for the full season. The situation left Farnsworth with some anger towards the Mets:

Farnsworth would seem like a natural fit for the Phillies, given their need for reliable right-handed relievers plus his newfound hatred of the Mets. What’s wrong with a little motivation?

Farnsworth, however, is 38 and his strikeout rate has been on the decline since 2009, from 25 percent then to 14 percent this season. His walk rate has jumped around but has generally been in the eight to nine percent range lately. Similar to Jonathan Papelbon, Farnsworth once averaged 95 MPH on his fastball but now averages 92.

Left-handed hitters have crushed Farnsworth so far this season, posting a .991 OPS against him compared to the .616 of right-handers. The platoon split isn’t nearly as pronounced over his career, but it has been a characteristic of his in recent years aside from 2013. Additionally, Farnsworth’s ground ball rate, at 35 percent, is also at its lowest since 2008. He was a ground ball machine with the Rays in 2011-12 but perhaps the change has more to his playing in the spacious Citi Field.

To summarize: Farnsworth is old, struggles to miss bats with any real frequency, doesn’t have outstanding control, gets smashed by lefties, and gives up a bunch of fly balls. There are a lot of reasons not to expect Farnsworth to be a replacement-level reliever going forward, but that being said, the Phillies aren’t in the position to be choosy, and the right-hander’s relatively cheap price tag ($1 million or under) makes him worth a gamble.

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9 comments

  1. George Callanan

    May 15, 2014 07:36 AM

    Why not. Our bullpen is weak, he might inject some new life. You know he will bring it against the Mets. It’s time to make some moves before the season is lost.

  2. Tom

    May 15, 2014 07:57 AM

    I think we should go after him, then put him in the minors and say for 3 years that he needs more time.

  3. Dante

    May 15, 2014 08:41 AM

    They should consider all FA RH relivers who have a pulse, yes. Include Todd Coffey on this list as well.

  4. GB

    May 15, 2014 10:05 AM

    Farnsworth? This is really where we are? Pathetic….hopefully the owners will clean house soon (or hopefully sell) and bring in people who can actually run a professional and modern baseball organization

  5. TomG

    May 15, 2014 10:50 AM

    Wait. Hatred of the Mets is considered optional motivation now, instead of a cosmological constant? When did that happen?

    I had always figured that the Mets even hated themselves for being Mets.

  6. Greg

    May 15, 2014 11:41 AM

    “…is old, struggles to miss bats with any real frequency, doesn’t have outstanding control, gets smashed by lefties, and gives up a bunch of fly balls. ”

    You have that just open on a text file and copy and paste it into every bullpen story, don’t you? Well you should.

    • Carmine Spellane

      May 15, 2014 01:23 PM

      I was going to paste the same quote and say that he sounds like a perfect fit for the Phillies bullpen, but you beat me to it.

  7. Mike Lacy

    May 15, 2014 03:05 PM

    He’s also reportedly one of the toughest guys in the major leagues, so the Phillies could sign him just to do some good old fashioned brawlin’!

  8. Pete

    May 15, 2014 11:02 PM

    Priceless conclusion…

    “To summarize: Farnsworth is old, struggles to miss bats with any real frequency, doesn’t have outstanding control, gets smashed by lefties, and gives up a bunch of fly balls. There are a lot of reasons not to expect Farnsworth to be a replacement-level reliever going forward, but that being said, the Phillies aren’t in the position to be choosy, and the right-hander’s relatively cheap price tag ($1 million or under) makes him worth a gamble.”

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