Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Via ESPN.com, the Tigers have just traded catcher Pudge Rodriguez for reliever (and ex-Tiger) Kyle Farnsworth. Pudge is due to be a free agent at the end of this year, and Detroit did not appear to have him in their plans for the future. For now, Brandon Inge will presumably take over full-time catching duties.
Farnsworth, who pitched in Detroit in 2005 before joining the Yankees, has a 3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a 43/17 strikeout to walk ratio in 44.1 innings pitched this season. Although he was much maligned as a Tiger, if he keeps those numbers up he would be a very solid addition to a Tiger bullpen in need of consistent (read: good) pitching.
I know that there will be many who think that this trade signifies that Detroit has given up on the season, but I actually like the deal. Detroit gets a good bullpen arm, and Pudge is not the same player he was when the Tigers signed him in 2004. Although Rodriguez is certainly a better defensive catcher than Inge, they have almost identical production at the plate. Although Pudge hits for a much higher average (.295 to .227), Inge has much more power, and their OPS (on-base plus slugging) is almost identical (Pudge with .755, Inge with .758).
Considering Detroit could just as easily kept Pudge for the stretch run and then gotten nothing in return for him next offseason, I like Dave Dombrowski's decision here. I'm sad to see Pudge go, especially since he was the first player to believe that Dombrowski could build a winner in Detroit. However, it was his time to get shipped out, and he's going to a playoff contender. Let's hope Farnsworth keeps up his numbers from this season and shores up a Tiger bullpen that has taken its lumps this year.