Did Mets Cut Kyle Farnsworth for Financial Reasons?

I realize I’m a day late on this, but sometimes life gets in the way of blogging (crazy, I know).

Considering that the Mets would have owed Kyle Farnsworth a guaranteed $750,000 had he remained with the club through Saturday, one might surmise that the move was financially motivated. Was it?

I’m not so sure I can kill the Mets for cutting Farnsworth loose a few days short of the guaranteed contract vesting, because I didn’t think Farnsworth should have been on the 25-man roster in the first place, and I didn’t see anything terribly impressive from him in his brief stint in the orange and blue.

The timing is awful, though, from a PR perspective — it might’ve looked better had it been done a week ago. And was the decision made as much because Farnsworth of the dough as it was about his ineffectiveness? Absolutely.

What made the move more awkward was that it came so soon after the righthander was named the team’s closer — and only a few days after notching a save against the Yankees.

I didn’t see Farnsworth as a long-term bullpen option — as in, as long as another month or two. Did you? Did you have any confidence that Farnsworth would do something other than get lit up every time he climbed the mound?

The problem with the move is that the Mets don’t appear to have anyone better waiting in the wings. His replacement on the roster, Josh Edgin, was terrible in the spring, has tallied an unsightly ERA in AAA so far this year, and has lost significant speed from his fastball. We’ll see how it works out.

What’s your take? Are you surprised to see Farnsworth go? Do you think it was all about the finances? Were the Mets correct in dropping him? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. NormE May 16, 2014 at 6:56 am
    I agree that the timing was awful.
    There may have been other factors but I do believe that money was primary. My problem with cutting Farnsworth is that they kept Valverde. I wonder if that might be because one of them (V) might have been seen as a more positive influence on the younger pitchers? On simple production both should have been released.
  2. Tommy2cat May 16, 2014 at 7:37 am
    Good morning, Joe – I agree that the Mets had a dual motivation for Farnsworth’s release.

    On one hand, it certainly was financial – Dagnamit – they’re going to recover every penny of the Bay/Castillo/Perez/Bonilla/Carasco/Francisco/K-Rod/Putz/Santana debacle if it kills them lol.

    Just for laughs – add up the total value of the guaranteed contracts given to the players named above. Feed a small country, anyone?

    At best, Kyle was worthy of a back-handed compliment – I believed that he would screw up less than Valverde. In other words, his performance was not ineffective always.

    However, I do give Alderson some credit for his recent youth infusion into the Mets roster. Lets hope we soon see Nick Franklin or Stephen Drew in a Mets uniform sooner rather than later.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Kevin Plawecki – d’Arnaud is turning into d’Arnot, and KP would finally give us some semblance of a return on Reyes’ release.

    Have a nice weekend.

    • Joe Janish May 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm
      Thanks for your notes, Tommy.

      Travis already has a nickname … ouch!

  3. Rob May 16, 2014 at 10:09 am
    Joe: Reports on recent news articles had Edgin hitting 92-94, with blasts up to 98 (Adam Rubin was the source). And he was recently on a streak of good pitching performances, so spring training was apparently irrelevant and his ERA is probably inflated. We’ll see how he performs now. He was certainly effective with his one pitch last night.
    • Joe Janish May 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm
      Thanks for the update — I had not heard/seen anything regarding Edgin’s velocity going back up. But then, I hadn’t been looking, either.

      The last time I saw him pitch — in March — his mechanics were seriously messed up. Perhaps he’s fixed them.

  4. Eugene May 16, 2014 at 11:31 am
    Perhaps the Mets want to get some of the guys from AAA in on relief action (a la the Cardinals in the way they bring up and acclimate young pitchers), and saving a few pennies on top of that just became frosting on the cake. Too optimistic?
  5. DanB May 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm
    Farnsworth was DFA for financial reasons. He was replaced with someone who was not as good as him and there remains relievers who are not as good as him on the team. But then again, he was signed for financial reasons so he shouldn’t be shocked. IBut then again, Farnsworth is not good and the Mets were not going to get anything for him in trade so I guess I would of done the same thing if I was GM. With the Mets, you almost assume every decision is finances first, baseball second.
  6. DaveSchneck May 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm
    I am on Alderson for many things, but this one I can’t blame him on and actually credit him on. I consider the backlash to be primarily a Pavlov’s Theory effect on an abused fan base.

    Calling Farnsworth “the closer” is more a function of not providing a legit plan B to Parnell. Farnsworth did nothing last season or in his time with the Mets to merit retention. He couldn’t even get a big league contract not only before the season but at the end of ST when the Mets cut him for the first time. He has made millions in MLB and signed that 45-day deal in full awareness of the contract. Why shouldn’t the Mets keep him around until the end if needed? Regarding Edgin, I do not have high hopes for him, but this pen is in desperate need of another LH arm. LH batters have highest OPS in baseball vs. Met hitting, and Rice is proving why he was a 14 year minor leaguer. It is much wiser to provide a plan B to Rice and see if Edgin can help then to keep an old, mediocre RH arm in the pen and commit to the $750K guaranteed payout should Farnsworth (likely) need to be released before the end of the year. Good move, but they still need to import some better help for the pen.

  7. DanB May 16, 2014 at 2:49 pm
    Dave, once again you said it better then I could of. I guess the reaction to this move is less about the actual move then it is about the moves the Mets didn’t do to prevent having to sign Farnsworth in the first place. It is like the Mets trading Davis and keeping Duda. Most of us agreed with the move, but the fact that it saved Mets money still taints it. It would of been better if the Mets signed Abreau and got rid of both. I wouldn’t think twice about cutting Farnsworth if once in a while the Mets made a move that costs money but increased wins.
  8. argonbunnies May 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm
    The decision to drop him, ehn, who cares. But going instantly from “you’re our closer” to “you’re the worst guy in our ‘pen”? It’s incoherent, and of course poor Farnsworth was blindsided. If he’d been doing mop up while the kids tried out closing, I’m sure he wouldn’t have been shocked. But with the Mets repeatedly handing the 9th inning to experienced veterans, he couldn’t have predicted this about-face.
  9. Michael May 17, 2014 at 9:05 am
    The guy made $250K. It’s not like he’s a pauper. The majority of New Yorkers will never make that in one year of their life! This is a nonsense issue.