Sports musings from the minds of Matt Elias and Brian Sciubba
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Pudge to Yanks for Farnsworth.
Well this one was a no brainer. A terribly inconsistent pitcher (I know hes been exceptional of late) for the best catcher available the same day Posada gets season ending surgery. In almost any trade there will be those who have their doubts and those who are delighted by the news. Lets discuss the downside first. The problem: Farnsworth has pitched great of late. In fact, not counting Monday nights blowout in which he had no business to be in the game to begin with, since May27th Farnsworth has had a line of 21.1 IP 15H 5BB 10K 5ER, including a stretch of 28ABs without letting up a hit. Obviously you'll take that every single time in the 8th inning. This trade could cause some agitation in the Yankees bullpen, but I am on the side of the argument that absolutely loves this trade.
This trade is still a good one regardless of how Farnsworth has pitched in the last month. Throughout his career Farnsworth has historically pitched exceptionally well in July to an ERA of 3.06. What people never seem to realize is that this is way below his career ERA of 4.42 and that in August his ERA shoots up to a fat 5.17. Granted, these are stats that have been accrued in the past and this year may be different, but I wouldn't be willing to chance it. After all, when has Farnsworth ever been consistent in a Yankee uniform? Never is the answer. Check out his career splits here, also available at the top of the page are his splits year by year. As you can see since he has been on the Yankees he has been very good in July and horrific in August. The Yankees cannot afford for him to nose dive yet again, especially when they can have Pudge without giving up a single prospect.
So now we turn to who the 8th inning guy will be. The answer is clearly Jose Veras. I think Edwar becomes the 7th inning guy with others filling in as needed. Due to injury Veras only has this year to base his stats upon since he had only 11IP and 9.1IP in 2006 and 2007, respectively. This year Veras has been great however, going 35.2IP with 29H 14BB and 36K which comes out to a 2.78ERA. While it is a very small sample size, Veras has pitched outstanding in the 8th inning so far this year with 9H against him in 47AB for a .191BAA. Personally I think Veras is fine in the 8th inning and will even be better than Farnsworth would have been for the rest of the year. In the end, while it is a downgrade for now, it doesn't seem as though the Yankees are losing that much in the pen.
On the other hand Pudge is not even in the same discussion as Molina as far as offense goes, and while he is not known as a great receiving catcher he has thrown out somewhere around 35% of the runners who have tried to steal on him this year. I understand that 35% is not 48% which is what Molina is doing, but the rate Molina is throwing people out at is ridiculous and is very likely to come back down to earth as he plays more everyday. There is no need to throw stats out in this argument, Pudge, despite his inability to take his walks, is head an shoulders above Molina when it comes to offense. Another thing to think about is what if Molina got hurt? Through all the injuries the Yankees have endured this year, an injury to Jose Molina would have effectively ended their season before this trade. With the beatings that catchers take on a daily basis combined with the fact that Molina hasn't caught everyday in years, something bad was bound to happen.