Relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth was upset about being outrighted by the New York Mets last night because it cost him money. His reaction is understandable, but Farnsworth should be counting his blessings that he was pitching in the major leagues at all this year.
The Mets signed Farnsworth to a minor-league contract in Spring Training as a low-risk insurance policy for Bobby Parnell, who was coming off a neck injury. Farnsworth impressed no one in Spring Training with his 89-MPH fastball, and most expected he’d be cut before the team ever went north. Well, the Mets kept him around for depth and ended up needing him when it was announced after Opening Day that Parnell needed Tommy John surgery.
Farnsworth suddenly had a bigger role in the Mets’ pen and found life on his fastball. His four-seamer touched 95 MPH. He mixed that in with a decent slider and sinker and used them to reel off 8.1 scoreless innings in April. He was good enough to take over the closer’s role from fellow reclamation project Jose Valverde, but Farnsworth’s luck soon ran out.
He started giving up hard contact and eventually ninth-inning leads. He also struggled in back-to-back outings, which is intolerable for a closer. Against the Colorado Rockies, he gave up a walk-off, two-run home run to Charlie Culberson, a utility man who now has only three career homers.
In May, Farnsworth’s strikeouts were down (only two), his walks were up and the only reason he picked up his third save of the season on Monday night was because of Lucas Duda‘s defense. Farnsworth hasn’t fooled anyone in two weeks.
People have criticized the Mets for being cheap — outrighting and eventually releasing Farnsworth saved the team $750,000. But Farnsworth was going to to be one of the odd men out when Dillon Gee and Gonzalez Germen returned from the disabled list anyway, so why not drop him now and save the money? Yes, the Wilpons have been pinching pennies since the Bernie Madoff scandal exploded, but this was just a good business decision. Farnsworth was never in the Mets’ long-term plans.
Farnsworth was lucky to get a shot with the Mets to begin with. Not many teams would have been desperate enough to sign him and put him in their Opening Day bullpen. Farnsworth said last night that he’d now like to sign with a team that will play the Mets so he can get a measure of revenge. He should be thankful if any team signs him at all.