A little over a month ago, I was sitting by the pool on my vacation when I received a text message from a friend saying that the Yankees traded Kyle Farnsworth to the Tigers for Pudge Rodriguez. My initial thought was that my friend was having some fun at my expense, but then I realized that he in fact was not kidding.
I was ecstatic that Farnsworth was gone and I was even more pleased with the pick-up of Pudge, since a few days earlier it was announced that Jorge Posada would have season-ending shoulder surgery. He's a 14-time All-Star and future Hall of Fame catcher and it seemed like a win-win situation to add him to the roster.
Like most Yankee fans, I had never warmed up to Farnsworth. When he was signed before the 2005 season, as Mariano Rivera's primary set-up man, I was excited. I'd heard he had electric stuff; the type of pitcher that could put hitters away with his 98 mph fastball and his 87 mph slider.
In his almost three seasons in NY, Farnsworth was known more for blowing leads and his back stiffening up from bending over to tie his shoe laces than he was at dominating hitters. It seemed as if the Yankees' investment had been seriously wasted and I was in favor of getting rid of Farnsworth as soon as possible.
It is the last full month of the 2008 season and neither Pudge nor Farnsworth have made much of an impact on their respective teams. In twenty-two games with the Yankees, Rodriguez is batting .219 with an OBP of .265. With Detroit, in 82, games he was hitting.295 with an OBP of .338. He has 14 hits, one double, two home-runs, three walks, and two RBI.
Pudge is also splitting time behind the plate with Jose Molina so he did not step in as the every day catcher in Posada's absence. Despite being a veteran catcher with excellent credentials, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte have gotten into a rhythm with Molina and don't want to upset the delicate catcher/pitcher balance.
Farnsworth isn't fairing much better in Mo-town. In eleven games with the Tigers he has a record of 0-0 in 11.4 innings pitched. He has given up 17 hits, eight runs, six earned runs, three home-runs, two walks, with 11 strike outs giving him an ERA of 4.76. With New York this season his ERA was 3.65 and he managed to give up only 18 runs in 44.3 innings pitched.
Maybe down the stretch both players can help their teams, but right now the trade is proving to be lackluster. It is quite possible that both players are having trouble adjusting to their new teams and their new roles. Then again there is always the chance that they'll remember just how good they were at one time and be able to help their new teams. Only time will tell.