Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Meet the Unsigned Free Agents: Kyle Farnsworth, Carlos Marmol, Octavio Dotel, Ryan Madson

After missing Monday, back to the routine and with that back to discussing free agents. Speaking of backs, I threw mine out on Friday and have been mostly out of commission the last few days. Thankfully, Heather was there to help make things better and take care of me and that Zeplen was there with some moral support and the smile that he always has on his face :). I'm still not 100% but at least things are improving, now to talk about some free agents:

Kyle Farnsworth:

Where He's Been:

Pretty much everywhere. Since leaving the Cubs after 2004, he's gone from team to team and for the most part helped with their bullpen effortsHis 2013 started rough as he struggled during his time with the Rays but he did pitch very well in some late-season appearances for the Pirates.

What 2014 Has in Store:

Likely ending up in someone else's bullpen. His last really strong season was in 2011 when he filled in as closer for the Rays. He's been below average the last couple seasons and if that trend continues his career could be pretty close to being done (it doesn't help hat he's already 37).

Comparison Analysis:

His most comparable player through age 37 is Tim Worrell. After age 37, Worrell pitched 23 games and had very poor results doing so (1.72 WHIP, 61 ERA+). My gut feeling is that Farnsworth gets himself into some big league action this year but there's a high possibility he struggles and that 2014 could be his last season.

Carlos Marmol:

Where He's Been:

Mostly with the Cubs. He had a few really good seasons to start his career but those days had apparently passed him by in 2012 when I had him on my Fantasy Baseball team and he went on to blow a bunch of saves. After the Cubs had seen enough, he ended up on the Dodgers in a move that was mocked by many. While some of the surface stats were okay (143 ERA+), red flags were still abound as his WHIP was north of 1.5 and he had a BB/9 of 8.

What 2014 Has in Store:

More likely than not, Marmol will be given a chance somewhere. He's still relatively young (31) and he still has the ability to strike out batters (10.8 SO/9) in 2013. Likely, where ever he ends up, he's not going to pitch very well, he may get some strike outs but nothing indicates that the control issues that have plagued him have been resolved.

Comparison Analysis:

Through age 30, the most similar pitcher to him is Braden Looper. After age 30, he had one more solid season of relief pitching before being a starting pitcher for the last three seasons (including one bad season with the Brewers that was a compelling argument against using win-loss records to evaluate pitchers). Either way not a likely scenario for Marmol as I don't see him ever being converted to a starting pitcher or being in the MLB for more than a year or two if the control issues do not get resolved.

Octavio Dotel:

Where He's Been:

Pretty much everywhere. It would almost be easier to list the teams he hasn't played for. During his career, he has been successful as a reliever after some initial struggles as a starter. He had continued to perform well as he got into his late 30s but the 2013 season was a wash as that season was lost due to elbow inflammation.

What 2014 Has in Store:

At this point, Dotel's career may be coming close to being finished. Even in the 6 games he pitched last year, he struggled and he's going to be 40. He may get a spring-training invite but the odds are likely stacked against him.

Comparison Analysis:

His most similar player through age 39 is Doug Bair. During his age 40 season he pitched 22 games for the 1990 Pirates but struggled (1.685 WHIP). If Dotel makes a major league roster, I could see him getting into some games but its uncertain how much more effectiveness would be left in his arm.

Ryan Madson:

Where He's Been:

For a few years, he was a very effective reliever in the Phillies bullpen. However, he has lost the last two seasons due to injuries.

What 2014 Has in Store:

This all depends on whether or not  Madson can get past the right elbow issues that required him to have Tommy John surgery. He's not young (33) but there is enough time for him to continue what had been a successful career if he can get healthy enough to play again.

Comparison Analysis:

His most similar pitcher through age 30 was Doug Bird. He had a few years of starting pitching (not necessarily effective) before finishing his career in 1983. I don't think this particularly applies to Madson as he was exclusively in relief for the last five years he was active and it's unclear whether he will be as effective or close to it if/when he returns.

All numbers, comparisons found on baseball-reference.com