Farnsworth came up as a starter with the Cubs in 1999, but wasn’t really suited to the role and drifted into the bullpen. We was terrific as their lead setup man in 2001, awful in 2002, pretty good in 2003-04, but ran afoul of Dusty Baker and was run out of town to Detroit, for nothing much. He’s pitched very well there and took over the closing duties of late.
He might have the best arm in major league baseball. Him or Billy Wagner. He throws routinely in the 98-100 MPH range, and at times has been an excellent reliever. But he’s got a real million-dollar-head, ten-cent-brain problem. He never got along with Baker, but that’s no surprise since few do. He’s currently awaiting a seven-game suspension for a fight he provoked. He appealed it, which might have knocked his value down.
What pushed his value up is an outstanding season he’s having with the Tigers, where he’s thrown 42 2/3 innings with a 2.32 ERA, striking out 55 and walking 20. There are some park effects there: his home ERA is 1.57, his road ERA 3.20. He’s allowed only one home run this season. He’s not this good, but he’s a good pitcher.
It remains to be seen if he closes or is the eighth-inning guy. I think Reitsma has pitched too well to lose the closer job. JS says it is Bobby’s decision.