FEBRUARY 16: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets the breakdown of Farnsworth's incentives: $75K for making 40, 45, 50, and 55 appearances; $100K for making 60 and 65 appearances; $100K for 30 and 35 games finished; $250K for 40 and 45 games finished; and $300K for 50 games finished. Farnsworth can also ask for his release within 24 hours, if he is not on the Mets' 25-man roster on March 23, tweets Sherman.
4:08pm: The Mets announced (on Twitter) that they have signed right-hander Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. The veteran closer/setup man is a client of Meister Sports Management.
Farnsworth, who will turn 38 in April, spent last season with the Rays and Pirates, posting a combined 4.70 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 45.5 percent ground-ball rate. ERA estimators such as FIP (4.14), xFIP (3.73) and SIERA (3.64) all feel that Farnsworth was better than the 4.70 mark indicates, but his lowest K/9 rate since his rookie season in 1999 and a career-low average fastball velocity (92.6 mph) likely were still cause for some concern among interested parties.
Since a surprising elite season as the Rays' closer in 2011, Farnsworth has a 4.41 ERA in 65 1/3 innings. A move to the National League could help his cause, though his 1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with the Pirates last season is too small a sample from which to draw any meaningful conclusion. The Mets have been said to be pursuing a low-cost veteran arm for their bullpen, and Farnsworth certainly fits the bill.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.