April 15, 2009

"Good news, everyone!"

"Our super free-agent reliever super exploded!
I need you to take him back and exchange him for a wobbly CD rack and some of those rancid meatballs."

Pretty much everyone but Dayton Moore knew signing Farnsworth was a bad idea. And yet, Kansas City is paying him 9.25 million over the next two years. So far, the signing is paying off. He's lost two games for KC (including Opening Day), been outpitched by Sidney Ponson of all people, and accumulated a 16.50 ERA.

Big whoop, you say. That's only in 3 1/3 innings. He'll get better.

Of course he will; not even Jose Lima could maintain an ERA above 15 for an entire season.

But Kyle Farnsworth still won't be a good setup man. He's not a good reliever in general. He has a career ERA of 4.49, a career WHIP of 1.41, and more blown saves than saves. The most holds he's had in a season are 24, and that happened eight years ago when he was with the Chicago Cubs. In the eight years since that season, he has been a Cub, a Tiger, a Brave, a Yankee, and a Tiger again; he has speared two opposing players Bill Goldberg style; and he has never learned how to pitch.

According to baseball-reference.com, the pitchers he is most similar to are Doug Henry, Russ Springer, Mike Trombley, Jay Witasick, and Hector Carrasco. None of those guys are/were worth tens of millions of dollars, but for some reason, GMs seem to think Farnsworth is. His contract with KC is bad, but then again, the Yankees gave him the same amount PER YEAR with his last contract.

The reason he can still get a job pitching in the majors, the reason he can get paid a lot for that job, is that he throws the ball really, really, really, really, really hard and doesn't completely suck. He has no brain in his head, no finesse in his pitching, nothing to show for being born with a gift other than a lot of money and mediocre stats.

It makes you wonder why Fate has been kind to someone like him when there are plenty of guys out there just like Farnsworth, owners of a 100 mph fastball, that aren't/weren't blessed with his ability to get a major league gig as a middling middle reliever for a decade.

But I'd argue Fate really hasn't been all that kind to Kyle Farnsworth. That being a middling middle reliever is no blessing. Sure he's rich, but nobody gives a damn about him. The ones with his talent who didn't make it, the Steve Dalkowskis and Colt Griffins, are more interesting, more compelling figures than Farnsworth will ever be.

We tend to hold both successes and failures with high regard. That's why we're proud of being Royals fans, despite so little to show for all the years of watching them. At least when they fail, they fail spectacularly. Indeed, it's easy to love (or hate) someone or something that is the best or the worst, but we don't know how to deal with the mediocre. It's just there.

And that will be my attitude towards Farnsworth until he is released or traded. He'll just be there. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but mostly just there.

Go Royals! You're The Best!

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