Rays Sign Kyle Farnsworth

The Rays have officially signed Kyle Farnsworth to a one-year deal, according a team press release.  The agreement was first reported by Steve Slowinski of DRaysBay and confirmed by ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Twitter links). The deal will pay the Barry Meister client $3.25MM in 2011 and could be worth $6MM over two years, since there's an option for 2012. 

Farnsworth posted a 3.34 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 64 2/3 innings for the Royals and Braves last year. The 34-year-old's 41% ground ball rate is unremarkable, but it's higher than it was earlier in his career, when he was more of a fly ball pitcher. Farnsworth doesn't throw quite as hard as he once did, but his average fastball was still 94.9 mph last year. That was enough to place Farnsworth at the top of MLBTR's list of the hardest throwing free agent relievers.

The Rays have added bullpen candidates Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Joel Peralta, Chris Archer, Cory Wade, J.P. Howell and R.J. Swindle this offseason. That's a promising group of players, but Andrew Friedman's acquisitions are considerably less established than the collection of Rays relievers that hit free agency after the season. 

As MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker shows, former Rays relievers Rafael Soriano, Grant Balfour and Chad Qualls are among the remaining unsigned arms.

It's been a publicly quiet offseason for Farnsworth since the Braves declined his $5.25MM option for 2011 at the beginning of November.


65 Responses to Rays Sign Kyle Farnsworth Leave a Reply

  1. hmmm… it seems the average to good relievers are making off far better than the elite this year

    that draft pick compensation rule really screws good relievers over

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      Wonder if that will be the case next year. A lot of GOOD closers could be hitting the market.

    • I believe it’s a combination of the draft picks having to be surrendered plus all the “elite” relievers like Soriano are looking for multi-year deals. With the Rays culture of developing propsects into major leaguers, it makes sense to take Farnsworth off the scrap heap,,,,plus, they’re only on the hook for one year. It’s low risk high reward for the Rays…if he pitches really well, they could flip him mid-season to a contender, and replenish their farm system, and if Farnsworth fails, they just release him.

  2. pastlives 4 years ago

    haha…

  3. davidsonrva 4 years ago

    LOL

  4. As a Royals fan, I was actually happy with his 2010 production… but I was much happier when we flipped him for Tim Collins.

    • roberty 4 years ago

      I wish the Braves didn’t trade Collins. =( He is so awesome.

      • Braves1976 4 years ago

        Yea, the Royals clearly won that trade.

        BTW, I wouldn’t want Farnsworth even on a minor league deal. He’s too much of a choker when it matters, IMO.

      • Braves1976 4 years ago

        Yea, the Royals clearly won that trade.

        BTW, I wouldn’t want Farnsworth even on a minor league deal. He’s too much of a choker when it matters, IMO.

  5. TwinsVet 4 years ago

    So who’s the front-runner to close for Tampa now?

    • kdawg89 4 years ago

      Probably Jake McGee unless they sign someone else…

      • JP Howell most likely

        • kdawg89 4 years ago

          If he’s healthy, he might close. Wouldn’t be surprised if Balfour comes back and closes, they may bring back Qualls too. Got a feeling Maddon’s gonna do a bullpen by committee unless they sign a true closer or someone really steps up..we’ll see.

      • JP Howell most likely

  6. PookieGonzales 4 years ago

    As as Royals/Redsox fan this makes me really, really, really happy. It’s time to watch him melt down for the other side now.

  7. kdawg89 4 years ago

    Wow…Guess the Rays can punch their ticket to the series now…. Can’t help but think they could have brought back Cormier for a lot less and got similar results.

  8. popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 4 years ago

    This signing caught me off gaurd, I hope they didn’t spend all their Garza money on Farnsworth. Tampa still needs a big bat!

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      I think they still have another 3.5-4Mish to spend on a bat. Maybe they can nab Thome for 4M. If not give the Giambino a chance :P. 1M plus incentives. See what he gives you for a full season at DH.

  9. Slopeboy 4 years ago

    Wow… This signing shows me that you’re never too old to learn something. During the time he spent pitching for NY, I thought his first name was VILE!

    • Chuck345 4 years ago

      I also learned that there is indeed no “less” at the end of his last name.

  10. bigpat 4 years ago

    Huh? 3M+ for Farnsworth? That strikes me as a very odd move. I guess he had a decent season last year but he’s so inconsistent, what’s the point in spending that kind of money on him? They could have just brought back Balfour or made a run at Soriano.

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      They want to add more than one piece. Soriano was completely out of the question. It would have taken all the money they saved by moving Garza and be put into Soriano plus a little more. Balfour, sure he was an option but who knows what he’s looking for, maybe 3-4M a year.

    • Braves1976 4 years ago

      Tampa Bay cannot afford to waste this kind of money on relievers like Farnsworth. I predict this signing comes back to bite them. Farnsworth won’t pitch well enough to make this signing worth it, IMO.

  11. $1529282 4 years ago

    The one nice side of this for the Rays, I suppose, is that if he produces well in 2011, they can have him back at a lower price in 2012, based on the way the option is set up. Since $3.25M is guaranteed already, they’ll save $500K on him in 2012 if he continues his resurgence.

    Still, not a deal I particularly care for…

  12. joeybw 4 years ago

    Oh boy

    2012 FTW!

  13. rbeezy 4 years ago

    Tampa’s Bullpen is looking thin. I always hear how the bullpen is going to be just as good as last year but how!? Look at these scrubs, Farnsworth will be giving bombs up all day at the Trop. Tampa is not going to be as good as all the experts say. Losing Crawford, Pena, Garza and basicly every good pitcher in the Pen will have an effect when Davis and Hellickson are on strict pitch counts. You can’t just waive a magic wand over has beens and make them all stars every year. They got luck with Beniot but it’ll be tough to happen again.

    • The only real loss is Crawford, and that might not be that bad if Desmond Jennings/Matt Joyce can produce this year. Pena was a .732 OPS player, and Bill James is predicting Dan Johnson to post a .840 OPS this year at 1B. So at worst, it’s a side-grade and at best its a huge upgrade. Garza’s position in the rotation is being filled in by the #1 prospect in all of baseball this year, and Garza was due for a regression this year. Although they will probably be on pitch counts, they have another top prospect Matt Moore waiting in the wings in the minors. If they REALLY need depth, Andy Sonnanstine could be stretched out and makes a viable 5th starter.

      So really, the only weaknesses I see right now are No DH (which they have 3-4 mil to spend on one) and their bullpen. Bullpen performance is so difficult to predict though because of how volatile it is every year, especially when they include rookie Jake McGee and super-sleeper Adam Russell (Although I agree, Farnsworth was a bad signing)

      If anything, I think you guys are underrating the Rays.

      EDIT: I forgot to add that Brignac+rodriguez full-time > Bartlett full-time + platoon of Brignac/Rodriguez both offensively and defensively.

      EDIT 2: I also forgot to add in any value that newly acquired Robinson Chirinos is going add to the equation if he gets playing time in the majors

  14. Green_Monster 4 years ago

    I think they paided him to much.

  15. budman3 4 years ago

    He’s as good as Balfour with more secondary pitches to get guys out. At 3 million this year he costs less than what Balfour was asking for and the Rays will still get to add another draft pick when he signs somewhere else. Solid move.

    • “He’s as good as Balfour”

      No.

      • budman3 4 years ago

        When Balfours favorite pitch, the fastball, loses some velocity, he will suffer more than he already has when guys caught up to it.

  16. slider32 4 years ago

    The window has closed for the Rays, but their starters are still going to keep them in games. Watch out for the O’s this year!

    • popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 4 years ago

      I’d rather have Farnsworth than Gregg, especially considering the money. I like the move better than Gregg’s contract, I wouldn’t pay Fuentes to sling it in there, the money is problaly something comparable to the money Balfour would have got. I like it! Go AF! Now just find a couple bucks to sign a DH.

  17. Not a very Rays-esq move.

  18. Chuck345 4 years ago

    Rays fans in the outfield seats be ready…there will be a lot of souvenirs coming your way during the late innings.

  19. optionn 4 years ago

    Say what you want about him- but the guy is a flamethrower. Blow you out with the fastball.

    • Chuck345 4 years ago

      You’re right. The baseballs usually have a flame-tail on the end of them as they reach the seats.

    • Slopeboy 4 years ago

      I say he brings a whole new meaning to fireman.

  20. Guest 4 years ago

    And people are complaining about the Cubs getting Garza. Love it how people rip Hendry. This move stinks. And so did the Werth and Crawford signings and the Cashman signing of Burnett in years past. So what have we learned….all GMs make bad moves. Hendry’s an average GM not a good one not horrible…just average.

  21. Wow, $3.25 mil for FARNSWORTH!?!?

    Imagine what a guy WHO CAN PITCH would get!

    • roberty 4 years ago

      More than the Rays are willing to spend. Look how many solid relievers they lost.

  22. Longo103 4 years ago

    Good sign by the rays.

    He posted an FIP of 3.10 in 2009 and 3.06 in 2010. The past 2 seasons hes been good getting grounders and seemed to have kept his walks down. People seem to forget balfour was a nobody before the rays signed him and was a wild machine too. Hmm sounding a bit like farnsworth…the rays have habit of fixing pitchers control issues and finding diamonds in the trash pile(Joaquin benoit) dont be suprised if this actually turns out to be pretty good sign…

  23. lazerball 4 years ago

    3.25 million really isn’t that much for Farnsworth. He isn’t a star, but he’s put up good enough peripherals the last few years to be worth this kind of money. In fact I’d go as far as to say this is a smart signing by the Rays.

    Consider for a moment that were in a market where Kevin Gregg is worth 2/11mm. Yeah.

  24. Watch him be a type A by the end of the season. His numbers from last year look pretty good and it seems every reliever the Rays sign wind up getting them draft picks…

  25. Watch him be a type A by the end of the season. His numbers from last year look pretty good and it seems every reliever the Rays sign wind up getting them draft picks…

  26. baseballz 4 years ago

    Hey I know this is totally off topic, well its still about relievers. But does anyone know what happened to Juan Cruz ? Is he injured ? I know he was terribly ineffective in KC, but I didn’t think it would keep him out of the Majors as I see he’s still a FA. Thanks for any info, i just can’t find anything.

  27. Heliosphan 4 years ago

    Well… he throws hard. But that’s about the nicest thing I can say about Farnsworth. Yeah, his periphs are decent, but he has a habit of blowing it at crucial times.

  28. Waste of funds Tampa…

  29. pitcher1 4 years ago

    Juan Cruz had a shoulder operation after he was released by the Royals. It had been troublesome for a couple of years

  30. pitcher1 4 years ago

    Juan Cruz had a shoulder operation after he was released by the Royals. It had been troublesome for a couple of years

  31. $6101468 4 years ago

    Soriano to Farnsworth. Like going from first to say fourth. Enjoy the rebuilding.

  32. $6101468 4 years ago

    Soriano to Farnsworth. Like going from first to say fourth. Enjoy the rebuilding.

  33. okbluejays 4 years ago

    This is a solid signing, a lot of people just hate Farnsworth because he never lived up the to the hype that originally surrounded him. His HR rate has been under 1 for 2 straight years(0.72 and 0.56), and he’s posted solid FIP’s in both of those years (3.10 and 3.06). His walk rates are also down, so it really seems like he’s becoming a better pitcher with age, and thats what the Rays are banking on too. 3Mil might be a tad over-pay by about .5mil, but it’s nothing outrageous. Plus the Rays were in desperate need of some solid pen arms, and Farnsworth is one of them.

  34. Umm…hmm…well, let’s just say I’m hoping the Rays know something I don’t. They often do, but this seems more odd than normal. Perhaps even a bit desperate. And I doubt Balfour’s asking price is much higher, if at all.

    Oh well. Friedman knows more than I do, I’ll take his word for it, for now at least.

  35. coolstorybro222 4 years ago

    and the orioles look back on the rays as they ride the car to victory

    • it’s going to be really funny when you all finish last again.

    • lazerball 4 years ago

      Would this be the same Orioles who gave more money and more years to an inferior reliever because they felt like overpaying for counting stats again?

    • lazerball 4 years ago

      Would this be the same Orioles who gave more money and more years to an inferior reliever because they felt like overpaying for counting stats again?

  36. HerbertAnchovy 4 years ago

    R.I.P.

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