Monday, August 01, 2005

Tigers Go For The Flag -- A White Flag -- With Farnsworth Deal

Rondell White is still a Tiger. So is Dmitri Young. And Mike Maroth. And Omar Infante. All these were rumored to having been on the block as yesterday’s non-waiver trading deadline approached. That the Tigers didn’t trade any of them should mean that the team wasn’t surrendering this season’s playoff hopes, no matter how remote.

But the Tigers did a rather curious thing, in my eyes. They dealt Kyle Farnsworth, who has the potential to be a real beast of a closer, to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Roman Colon and minor league right-hander Zach Miner. GM Dave Dombrowski is pretty good at getting 2-for-1’s and 3-for-2’s, and maybe this deal will pan out in the long run, but something about it bothers me. And I think it has to do with running another white flag up another hopeless pole.

Like I said in the first paragraph, and posted here a couple of days ago, the Tigers’ playoff hopes are pretty much as solid as the candy glass the movie people use in those fake bottles they break over each other’s heads. And Farnsworth was scheduled to test the free agent market after this season. AND....he supposedly wasn’t as hot to stay here as another potential free agent, Placido Polanco, who has done nothing but rave about the organization and the city since coming here from Philadelphia in June.

I guess what nags at me is the Tigers simply gave up hope of signing Farnsworth to a long-term deal. So why is that? It can’t be the ballpark. Farnsworth isn’t a hitter; Comerica Park is supposed to be a pitcher’s place, is it not? It certainly can’t be the direction in which the Tigers are headed, can it? Isn’t the club supposed to be turning the corner?

Ahhh, now we may be on to something.

The two youngsters the Tigers got for Farnsworth don’t knock you out when you read their brief resumes or what the scouts have to say. They aren’t even all that young. It just seems like you could have gotten more for a brute like Farnsworth, especially from the Braves, a team with eyes dead on a pennant, as usual. Anyhow, this deal may be an indictment on the credibility the team has regarding its mission. If it isn’t confident it can convince Farnsworth, who’s been here all season, that the club is moving in the right direction, then what message is that delivering?

Polanco is elated to be here, and that’s great. Frankly, it’s refreshing, especially coming from a hitter. But the Tigers could really use more guys like Farnsworth, who are tough and intimidating and just a weeee bit crazy. Besides, the dude is going to blossom into one hell of a closer, just you wait and see.

But, alas, we’ll have to wait and see from afar. At least the team didn’t trade him within the American League.
So long, Kyle. We hardly knew ye, but we knew enough to want you to stick around for awhile. See ya in the playoffs -- on television.

1 comment:

Ian C. said...

The one thought that comes to mind is that maybe Farns just flat-out said he planned on signing with Atlanta after becoming a free agent. Well, maybe he didn't come right out and say it. But maybe he strongly hinted at that.

And as disappointed as I am - because I loved the idea of a German, Rodney, Farnsworth late-inning bullpen - it's hard for me to begrudge a guy who probably just wanted to play for his home team. In the end, maybe that's what this came down to.

I get as defensive as anyone when an athlete wants to play someplace else. But sometimes, maybe a professional athlete just has his heart set on playing in a certain city or for a certain team, regardless of the money (though we don't know how much of a factor money played in this).