Farnsworth Trade Analysis

At this point, Tiger fans have heard plenty about the upside and inconsistencies of the team's new bullpen arm. But what about the guys the team just gave up? How does this trio of prospects project, and could this trade backfire down the road?

Only one of the group has made a big league appearance – he's also the only one to have appeared on the Tigers 40 man roster. Roberto Novoa struggled in his first call-up to Detroit, but seemed to calm down and pitch with more confidence in his late September call-up.

Novoa is a very capable reliever with a 2-pitch repertoire – a low to mid 90's fastball and an excellent slurve. Novoa has experimented with a splitter as well as a change-up, but didn't have tons of success with either – a likely reason why he was moved to the ‘pen at the start of 2004.

Novoa will probably never become a dominant reliever, and there was some concern with Novoa's arm when his velocity fell to around 90 in his second call up. Despite those concerns, Novoa should likely be able to stick in the Cubs bullpen to start the 2005 season, and if he continues to pitch like he did at the end of '04, could very well stick.

Moving on to the biggest name of the deal; former first round draft pick Scott Moore. On the plus side for Moore, he started to show more power in '04 (14 home runs in a pitcher-friendly park), and continued displaying excellent patience at the plate. On the downside, his defense at the hot corner was still poor, and he again struggled to make contact (.223 average, 125 strikeouts).

Moore certainly hasn't vindicated the scouts that pushed to take him so high back in 2002 – but he's still young at just 20 years old, and his problems can still be corrected. His future might be in the outfield – where the same defensive pressure won't be on him. But for now, Moore needs to concentrate at the plate and become a much better all around hitter. If he can do that, Moore could well develop into the power hitting third baseman the Tigers envisioned when they drafted him. If he can't, he'll go down as yet another in the long line of busts among Tiger first rounders.

The final member of the trade is also the one with the least publicity. Clarence "Bo" Flowers is another high schooler taken in the same draft as Moore – just 30 rounds later. Flowers is an incredible athlete that has just begun to really figure things out at the professional level. Flowers can hit for power and can run (.407 slugging percentage, 16 steals in '04 for short season A Oneonta), but he's going to need to prove he can do the same things against better pitching in a full season.

West Michigan would have been an excellent challenge for him, but now it appears that he'll be playing for Peoria, another member of the Midwest League. Flowers ceiling is certainly great, but he has a long ways to go before he can truly be considered a legit prospect. The fact that he didn't rank among the Tigers top 50 prospects should not go unnoticed.

Overall, the bounty the Tigers gave up for a middle reliever is quite high – especially one that has driven Cubs management crazy for some time. It's possible that the front office believes that pitching coach Bob Cluck will be able to turn Farnsworth into a dominant force, but there are no guarantees. Meanwhile, the Tigers gave up a decent middle relief prospect, along with a pair of hitters with tremendous ceilings. Whether or not they'll be able to figure things out is yet to be seen.

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