The Yankees continue to make a strong push for the postseason with their recent string of success and today bolstered their lineup with the addition of Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth.
The Yankees had an obvious need at catcher after the loss of Jorge Posada for the season. The only thing that keeps current New York catcher Jose Molina from becoming the Cooper Manning of the Molina Brothers is the fact that he actually plays sports. This is an instant upgrade for the Yankees at a premium position and turns their juggernaut offense into Murderer’s Row Part Deux.
Rodriguez is having a solid if unspectacular season at the plate but he has always been praised for his leadership and ability to call a game, things not lost on a perennial contender like the Yankees. In addition, his contract expires at the end of the season and the Yankees can simply allow him to walk and plug in a healthy Posada next year. And, while there is no such thing as too much depth in the bullpen, Farnsworth became expendable to New York after the trade for Xavier Nady that included Damaso Marte.
This is a bit of a cryptic move on the part of the Tigers, who despite a tumultous beginning of the season, find themselves in the thick of the hunt in the AL Central. While adding Farnsworth addresses the needs of the Tiger’s shaky bullpen and he may end up closing games, the loss of a leader like Ivan Rodriguez could prove costly as the dog days of summer approach. Brandon Inge, who was splitting time with Rodriguez, is expected to take over the full-time duties. Inge is only a .240 career hitter who is doing his best to lower that by hitting .227 on the year. Expect big things out of Inge and the Tigers the rest of the way.
What does this move mean for both teams? Even with a tough AL East, the Yankees should now be a favorite to win at least the wildcard if not the division. There lineup is stacked from top to bottom and the return of Phil Hughes and the continued growth of Joba Chamberlain should help the starting rotation. Having a player like Pudge on their roster should allow the Yankees to make a run deep into October. As for the Tigers, this move looks bad both on and off paper. Farnsworth is a decent addition to the bullpen but will not give Detroit the push it needs to overtake the Whitesox and Twins in the AL Central and does not help them build towards the future. Make it 2 for 2 for Brian Cashman, as the Yankees GM continues to build a World Series contender at cut rate prices.