Sorry, We're Closed

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Kyle Go Bye-Bye

The Cubs have traded Kyle Farnsworth to the Detroit Tigers for three prospects.

Farnsworth has one of the best arms in the game, cracking 100 mph with his fastball and showing an often baffling change-up. The Tigers bullpen is better with him in it, just because that's 60 fewer innings to give to the likes of Alan Levine.

Coming to the Cubs are 25-year-old pitcher Roberto Novoa, 21-year-old infielder Scott Moore, and 21-year-old outfielder Bo Flowers.

Novoa, the only one of the three new Cubs with major league experience, appeared 16 times (21 innings) for the Tigers last year, fanning 15 and walking 6, allowing 25 hits, four of them homers. He pitched reasonably well as a starter in Class A until 2003, but was converted to the bullpen last season at Double-A Erie, where he fanned 59, walked 18, and ceded 63 hits in 79 innings with a 2.96 ERA. If he repeats his minor league success against righties, Novoa could be a decent big-league back-of-the bullpen man. He does not project as an impact performer.

Moore, a former #1 draft pick of the Tigers in 2002, was rated "best power hitter" in the Tigers system in the 12/19/2004 Baseball America, but has done little in his three-year career to justify any hype. Last year at Class A Lakeland--not an easy place to hit, granted--Moore batted .223 in 118 games with 13 doubles and 14 homers. He took 49 walks, but also whiffed 125 times. He's not fast and is less than adequate at third base, but at 21 still has time to iron out the kinks. His power will have to carry him.

Clearly Moore has excellent physical tools--anyone drafted in the first round does--but could use help on pitch selection. The Cubs, unfortunately, do not seem to feel that strike zone judgement is particulary important, so Moore could continue to slide.

Flowers is even farther from the majors than Moore. Last year in the (very) low-level Class A New York-Penn League, he batted .280 at Oneonta with only 19 walks in 66 games. He's not a power hitter and doesn't steal bases well, but Flowers is an excellent athlete, rated the best in Detroit's system by Baseball America. That's a long way from being a good baseball player, but it is a start.

Neither Moore nor Flowers were on BA's list of Detroit's top ten prospects, which is really saying something, considering the poor quality of the Tigers' sytem. Despite Novoa's promise, this deal was clearly made to get rid of Farnsworth, who makes an awful lot of money for an up-and-down middle reliever/setup man.

Much has been said (most of it off the record) about Farnsworth's personal problems; alleged alcohol issues and obvious emotional flareups have kept him from fully realizing his talent. Last August 27, Farnsworth kicked an air conditioner, an act of foolishness that landed him on the disabled list and left his club short-handed; the ill-advised tantrum clearly greased the righty's way out of town. Of course, Farnsworth would have helped himself by getting people out in August.

What's scary about Farnsworth is over his career, he has ERAs over 5.00 in April, May, June, and August; at least he's consistent in that way. Farnsworth turns 29 in April, and the Cubs clearly grew tired of waiting for him to grow into his talent. The Tigers, who are trying to win the AL Central this season, think they can afford to give him a shot.

Since the end of the season, the Cubs have rid themselves of several "bad apples"--Farnsworth, Kent Mercker, Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, and even TV broadcasters Steve Stone and Chip Caray. (The definition of "bad apple" here can range from "bad example to young players" to "embarrasses the team in the media" to "overrated and expensive" to "Dusty doesn't like him.") GM Jim Hendry and manager Dusty Baker have now put their stamp on this team. This is the year we see just how smart they are.

4 Comments:

Blogger amo said...

whoa, i beat you to posting about this? amazing. of course, my post isn't nearly as involved. the guy played baseball? ;)

1:19 PM, February 09, 2005

 
Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Amo,

I figured this one would be tough on you...

1:28 PM, February 09, 2005

 
Blogger amo said...

uh, yeah . . . i think i'll survive.

7:08 AM, February 10, 2005

 
Anonymous loans said...

A

8:05 AM, November 29, 2005

 

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