The 2019 Major League Baseball season officially introduced Kyle Farmer as the league’s resident smorgasbord. After joining the Cincinnati Reds as a relatively overlooked piece of the deal that also brought in Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood from the Los Angeles Dodgers, he took the world of those who keep score by storm, eventually logging time at each of 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, pitcher, and catcher on the year.
He announced his presence in a large way by socking a 3-run tater against the Miami Marlins on April 9th, marking his single-game high point for harvested ribbies in the process. In the August 8th game that season against the Chicago Cubs, he played the entirety of the 12-5 Reds loss, getting time at each of catcher, 2B, and pitcher - on top of his 2 hits, he logged 1.1 scoreless IP after Wood and Kevin Gausman combined to yield 7 ER in just 5.0 IP at the outset.
Later that year, he did a Luke Bryan impression that Jim Day found funny.
He followed that up with a trendsetting 2020 season in which he opted against hitting any home runs, effectively protesting the juicing of the baseballs that saw record dinger-socking across the league in the previous year. Later in that miraculous 2020 season in which the Reds somehow managed to not lose more games than they won, he did a Luke Bryan impersonation that Jim Day found funny.
The 2021 season saw Farmer finally emerge as an everyday regular above and beyond his smorgasbord past, taking over as the almost-everyday shortstop and playing in 118 games there as starter. He set career-best marks for PA (529) and dingers (16, protesting his 2020 protest in that regard), posting an overall mark of .263/.316/.416 that was really, really good if you just ignore what other baseball players did during that season. Despite the Reds floundering tremendously throughout 2021, Farmer had a breakout July that year, hitting a robust .395/.456/.691 in 90 PA under the hot summer sky while also doing a Luke Bryan impersonation that Jim Day found funny.
By 2022, the Reds were neck-deep into yet another thorough rebuild, leaving the 31 year old Farmer as the lone impersonator of Luke Bryan remaining on a youthful roster, one than included top shortstop prospect Jose Barrero as an option to emerge at the big league level and overtake Farmer at his most-played position. Barrero suffered a busted hamate bone in his wrist in spring play, however, leaving Farmer once again to assume the everyday shortstop role for the Reds as they beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. As his teammates fell by the wayside through trade an injury, Farmer became the team’s lone stalwart, eventually leading them all in PA (583, a new career-best), hits (134), doubles (25), ribbies (78), Luke Bryan impersonations (1), HBP (16), and gritty sac-flies (6). It was a noble effort, his OPS+ of 90 unreflective of his ability to humor Jim Day with his Luke Bryan impersonation, and the stage was set for Farmer to finally earn a significant bump-up in pay in his second trip through arbitration.
That’s where the ever-frugal Reds draw the line these days, however. Last week, the Reds called time on Farmer and his new payday, shipping him and his Luke Bryan impersonation that Jim Day finds funny to the Minnesota Twins for a pitcher who’ll be 26 years old next summer and has never thrown a pitch above AA, let alone mastered Jim Day’s sense of humor. It was both unsurprising and inevitable, the reality of a 32 year old middle infielder making actual money while the rest of the club burns making less sense than letting the club burn in the first place, and the Kyle Farmer Era of Reds history officially came to a close.
He far out-shined Puig and Wood post-trade. That’s now The Kyle Farmer Trade in the annals of Red Reporter history. He did a Luke Bryan impersonation that Jim Day found funny, became the best catcher in Cincinnati Reds history who could also pitch and play 2B in the same game, and hopefully, hopefully gave enough veteran presents to the youthful Reds embarking on this current rebuild that, on baseball Christmas, they will open and discover how to play the game in a winning way going forward.
For all of that, we are grateful.