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Farnsworth is Not the One

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NIXON IS THE ONE! (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)
NIXON IS THE ONE! (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

When Richard Nixon ran for president, one of his campaign slogans was, NIXON IS THE ONE. This led to some unintentional humor, such as when a photographer caught a very pregnant woman standing beneath that slogan. Hey, they didn't call him "Tricky Dicky" for nothing.

Flash forward to 2008 or so and I was walking around the perimeter of Yankee Stadium when a woman passed me wearing a T-Shirt that must have been homemade. It said, ANYONE BUT FARNSWORTH.

If you have been following Farnsworth's career going back to 1999 or just tuned in for the miserable 2.5 seasons he put in with the Yankees, you know that he has always had great stuff but quite often no clue what to do with it. For most of his career, not knowing what to do with it meant a disproportionate number of balls going over the fences. In 2008, the year the Yankees finally traded Farnsworth, his home run rate reached 2.2 per nine innings. A starter with that same rate would over 200 innings would give up in the vicinity of 50 bombs.

When Farnsworth was pushed into closer duty with the Rays last year, it was entirely reasonable to predict disaster. Farnsworth's home run rate had come down over the intervening years, and although he wasn't great--an 81% saves conversion rate is actually kind of poor-the Rays didn't exactly suffer for him being in the role.

...And then there was yesterday's game, and I was wondering if I could still get in on the ANYONE BUT FARNSWORTH T-shirt market, Tampa division. Sure, he's been out all year with elbow inflammation, so maybe the meltdown should be excused... Or maybe it's just Farnsworth being Farnsworth. I didn't recognize him last year, but yesterday he seemed oh so familiar.