Friday, August 01, 2008

Tallying up the yays and nays: Final thoughts on the Pudge Rodriguez trade

Has there been a more polarizing Tigers trade than the Pudge Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth deal?

Many fans think the Tigers could/should have gotten more in return, prospects would have been preferable to a setup man or trading a first ballot Hall of Fame catcher is something you just don't do. Others believe it's too early to throw in the towel on the season, so something HAD to be done about the bullpen, Pudge's skills are in decline and had more value as a "name" than as a player.

Even the Detroit Tigers' blogosphere is split on this deal. For that to happen, you know this was a controversial trade. Let's see who's for the deal, and who's against moving Pudge.


TWFE: Pudge was leaving after this season. The Tigers needed bullpen help. Rather than get nothing (other than extra draft picks when he walked) for the mercurial catcher, the Tigers decided dealing him would get the pen a needed upgrade. Farnsworth was probably as good a reliever that would be made available. So after talking myself into it, I give the deal a mild, qualified...Yay?

Tiger Blog: I guess I like the deal. It’s low risk and at worse, the loss will be muted because of the short time period.

Tiger Tales: As for next year, I believe Pudge would have rejected arbitration and signed a multi-year deal elsewhere so I think Inge might have ended up being the catcher anyway. I also believe Farnsworth will reject arbitration and sell himself to the highest bidder. Thus, the trade might not have a lot of bearing on the future except for the probable draft pick.

Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb? This was, at first glance, a shocking deal. Not so much, once you think about it. Pudge will be missed, but as Leyland said -- the catcher isn't going to determine whether the Tigers make the playoffs. Those throwing to the catcher will determine that.

The Daily Fungo: My heart says it’s tough to see Pudge go. It’s almost a cliche now, but it also happens to be true: His signing with the Tigers in 2004 gave this team instant credibility and served as the foundation for a pennant winner. No minor accomplishment. My head says, this one, just like Big Daddy to the Yankees in ‘96, is a no-brainer.

Mack Avenue Tigers: Maybe it was Fernando Rodney’s showing or maybe it was the bullpen all around or maybe it was Inge having a good game, or maybe it was figuring the Marlins would have gotten bored of this Pudge matter and there weren’t going to be any entertaining prospects coming Detroit’s way anyway. WHATEVER THE CASE, I guess after a few hours, I’m OK with the move. I think it makes the team better this year, and they say they’re still in a pennant race, so God bless them, let them try I guess.

Bless You Boys: I also hate the idea of making a deal with a potential playoff rival, though this appears to be the proverbial trade that helps both teams involved. The Yankees needed a catcher, with Jorge Posada having season-ending surgery on his shoulder. And Farnsworth brings more immediate help than whatever draft picks the Tigers would've received next year with Pudge's free agency. Something else to consider is the difference in salaries; Farnsworth makes approximately $7 million less than Pudge, though I don't know how much of a factor that played in the Tigers' decision-making.

Detroit Tigers Thoughts: Farnsworth is making $5.5 million, compared to Pudge's $13 million. It's entirely possible this is a salary dump, making up for lost expected playoff revenues. Both are free agents after the season. I honestly do not know if Farnsworth projects to be a type A or B free agent. What I do know is that he upgrades the bullpen. Update: After seeing some reaction, it's amazing how overrated Pudge is.

Tigergeist: Overall, I think they’re a better team then they were when I woke up this morning — they have upgrade the bullpen with minimal impact to the starting lineup, with probably a positive impact on next year’s team.


Roar of the Tigers: Pudge for The Farns, straight-up? A Type A free agent (who, if offered arbitration, would get the team losing him a supplemental pick and a compensatory pick in the next draft) for a probably-Type B free agent (who only gets the team losing him one supplemental round pick)? No. This is not OK. THIS I cannot agree with.

The Detroit Tigers Weblog: But my issue is that I think the Tigers could have done better for Pudge. He’s having a good year at a hard to fill position. Factor in the loss of a draft pick and it’s not good. No young player coming back? Not awful, but Dave Dombrowski failed to maximize Pudge’s value. Yankees win this one easy.

The Spot Starters: So apparently the deal really is Ivan Rodriguez to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth. I’ve learned a bit of a lesson lately about snap judgments but this trade doesn’t seem to make much sense.

To be honest, many of the bloggers who ended up giving the trade a thumbs up, did so begrudgingly. Same for those who panned the deal, their the main objection being the Tigers didn't maximize their return.

After the fact, it appears the biggest reason the Tigers traded Rodriguez was a simple one. He wanted to leave. (As seen at The Daily Fungo)

Pudge's time in Detroit was running out as it was, if you believe the Tigers' spin after the trade went down. Supposedly, it had already been decided Brandon Inge would be the Tigers' full-time catcher in 2009. Pudge wasn't coming back to the D, period.

With the deal official, and Farnsworth joing the Tigers in Tampa, the question is...Will Kyle Farnsworth make a difference? After watching the bullpen implode over the last couple of days in Cleveland, he can't help but make the pen better.

Be it as a setup man or as a closer, Farnsworth becomes the Tigers' best late innings reliever. He's definitely been pitching well in New York this season. Unfortunately, we can't day the same about the gang that can't throw straight who currently make up the Detroit bullpen. In the end, that ineffectiveness is why the deal was ultimately made.

Either that, or the Tigers wanted to win every bench clearing brawl from here on out.

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