Ivan Rodriguez For Kyle Farnsworth; The Manny Rumors
- Brian Cashman pulls another deal out of nowhere in getting Ivan Rodriguez:
This reminds me of the David Justice trade that Yankees GM Brian Cashman pulled off with the Indians in 2000 in which it just struck like lightning from a clear blue sky. In acquiring Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers for Kyle Farnsworth, Cashman fills the empty lineup spot that had been Jose Molina and dumps Kyle Farnsworth before he reverts back into what he really is. Getting Rodriguez is a far cry from the laughable offers that Cashman received for Farnsworth over the past year. Most teams wanted the Yankees to just give Farnsworth to them and pay his salary; but Cashman replenished the pitcher’s value to a certain point and made an advantageous deal for both sides.
Even with the way he’s pitched since replacing Joba Chamberlain as the eighth inning man, Farnsworth has always been a pitcher who is going to give up the big homer in a big game; it’s not a matter of if, but of when; to get rid of him now when the Yankees have viable replacements for him—-Damaso Marte pitches well enough to righties that he can be used as a set-up man; Jose Veras deserves a chance; and Chamberlain could conceivably be moved back into the role for the playoffs—-and to get a veteran catcher was a smart move and they didn’t even have to dip into the system to get it done.
Rodriguez’s power has “mysteriously” deserted him in recent years (although I don’t think, given all the factors of his vastly diminished size and power and the timing of the decline, that it’s all that much of a mystery), but he’s still hitting .295; has extensive post-season success and experience; is a well-liked leader in the clubhouse; plays good defense and calls a good game for his pitchers. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the Yankees bringing him back to split time with Jorge Posada at catcher and first base; no one knows what Posada’s situation is going to be when he gets back and having a backup who can provide both offense and defense isn’t a bad idea.
The Tigers and Braves are two of Farnsworth’s former employers who liked him enough to want to bring him back and I don’t think that this is a short-term idea for the Tigers either; my guess is that they’ll try and keep Farnsworth. Their bullpen is in tatters; Todd Jones is unreliable; Joel Zumaya is always one false step from another DL stint and is a prime candidate for a fast flameout. Farnsworth will at least add another body—-biceps and all—-out there to get a few outs. They’ve been using Brandon Inge behind the plate and must feel confident enough to put him back there regularly in order to get his, Gary Sheffield’s and Marcus Thames’s bats into the lineup every day. The Tigers are only one hot streak away from jumping into first place in the AL Central, so this made sense on all levels for both teams.
- Manny Ramirez headed for Florida?
I don’t believe that these deals are done until they’re done, but the Red Sox seem determined to get Manny Ramirez out of town and it’s no shock that the Marlins have jumped into the fray; given their history of going for it and winning when they think they have a shot, no playoff team should want to see the Marlins in October. If I were the Red Sox though, I would be very reticent to slot Jason Bay into Manny’s spot in left field as would occur if the proposed three-team deal with the Pirates and Marlins comes through. Bay looks to me like the type of player who would be swallowed up by the Boston pressure; he does fine when he’s with a team like the Pirates who have no chance of contending, but the spotlight in Boston combined with replacing Manny Ramirez? It’s a big risk. The other names—-Jeremy Hermida and Josh Willingham—-would be better options in a straight-up deal and I’d take Willingham over the others. Other teams may jump in before the deadline hits, so these stories are very premature and Manny may end up just staying in Boston for the rest of the season.
- And still another reason why J.P. Ricciardi should be fired:
No one who’s been watching Scott Rolen over the past few years can possibly be surprised by this from the Associated Press:
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Scott Rolen plans to skip some games
and cut back on his batting practice while undergoing an “extensive”
rehab program for his surgically repaired left shoulder.
“I’ve been having some shoulder trouble, some problems with it,” Rolen
said. “Not strength, not flexibility, not surgery. Nothing like that.
Mechanically it’s not functioning right. The therapist looked at it,
the doctor looked at it. I talked to [manager Cito Gaston and general
manager J.P. Ricciardi] and we’re going to try to get some extra days off. I’ll keep playing, keep going out there and doing what I can do, back off in the cage a little bit.”
Rolen’s an admirable guy; he’s stubborn, proud and plays hard whenever he can get out on the field; but that’s the problem—-he’s never able to get out on the field and his production is at a point where he shouldn’t even be a starter anymore whether he’s hurt or not. In looking at the numbers of the guy the Blue Jays traded to the Cardinals to get him, Troy Glaus, and there’s no comparison on the field:
Rolen: Games-82; At Bats-295; Runs-36; Hits-75; Doubles-21; Triples-2; Home Runs: 6; RBI-31; Walks-35; Strikeouts-52; Average-.254; OBP-.349; Slugging-.400; OPS+-101.
Glaus: Games-107; At Bats-384; Runs-51; Hits-105; Doubles-27; Triples-1; Home Runs-18; RBI-71; Walks-60; Strikeouts-72; Batting Average-.273; OBP-.374; Slugging-.490; OPS+-127.
I understand that Rolen’s been hurt, but that’s part of the reason that the Blue Jays should’ve steered clear of him. The move was a huge mistake before even getting to the contract status of the players. Rolen has two more years on his deal at $11.8 million per year; Glaus has an $11.25 million player option for next year that was exercised as part of the trade from Toronto to St. Louis. This is yet a third example of the Blue Jays and J.P. Ricciardi putting an absurd contract option out of the hands of upper management and into the hands of the player. (The other two were Frank Thomas and A.J. Burnett.)
If Glaus had stayed in Toronto and had the year he’s having for the Cardinals, he would’ve declined the option and gone into free agency, but given what they’ve gotten from Rolen, I’m sure the Blue Jays would take that deal right now. Worst case scenario, they could’ve kept Glaus and saved the money they’ll be paying Rolen over the next two years; and Rolen’s going to be 34; does anyone think that he’s going to have a career renaissance at this point? That he’s going to be healthy? And I think we’re all beginning to realize that the “rest and rehab” program for injured players rarely, if ever, works. Jorge Posada is the latest example of a player who took that route and wound up wasting three months trying to play with an injury that needed surgery and delayed his return time because he tried to avoid what needed to be done. Rolen’s career is on the decline due to injury, but the Blue Jays are going to be paying him for two more years at big money because they made a bad judgment call and took on another bad contract, which is turning into a hallmark of Ricciardi’s tenure as GM.
Because of these contracts, they’re going to lose Burnett after the season, but can’t trade him because of the contract. They cut Frank Thomas because of the contract. And they’re stuck with Rolen because of the contract. I’m still waiting for an answer as to how Ricciardi’s still there, but no one’s responding because they can’t come up with one—even one that’s total crud.