Kyle Farnsworth Rumors

Quick Hits: Blanton, Farnsworth, Winston, July 2, Venezuela

Royals righty Joe Blanton has rejected several opportunities to play in Asia, tweets MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes. The 34-year-old veteran, who has an opt-out date of May 15, remains committed to working his way back to the big leagues for the first time since 2013. Blanton has produced a 3.71 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 through 26 2/3 Triple-A innings this year with Omaha.

  • Another long-time big league right-hander, Kyle Farnsworth, has other athletic endeavors in mind. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports, the 39-year-old former reliever is now suiting up on the defensive line for the Orlando Phantoms — and is credited with 11 sacks, the second-highest tally in the Florida Football Alliance. (Attentive fans will recall that Farnsworth showed some gridiron promise at times on the diamond.)
  • Speaking of football-baseball crossover, top overall NFL pick Jameis Winston will not be appearing on a mound any time soon, according to Darren Heitner of Forbes (via Twitter). Winston, a promising righty at Florida State, has a clause in his deal that will preclude him from pitching while under contract with the Buccaneers.
  • MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez takes a look at this year’s top July 2 prospects. Some of the names will be familiar not only to international prospect followers, but also to general baseball fans. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has already received plenty of attention, but Vlad Sr.’s nephew Gregory Guerrero and Fernando Tatis Jr. are also among the top 30 prospects with big league bloodlines.
  • Meanwhile, the Mariners are indeed pulling the plug on their operations in Venezuela, per Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. The move had been reported back in March, though the team declined comment at that time. Costa takes an interesting, but sobering, look at the decline of the academy system in the struggling country. Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos expressed dismay at the diminishing opportunities for hopeful young ballplayers from his home nation. Of course, Ramos himself endured a terrifying kidnapping ordeal in Venezuela after reaching the big leagues. Now, he says he is applying for a green card in hopes of establishing permanent U.S. residency.

Blue Jays Notes: D’Backs, Neshek, Gregerson

Here’s the latest from Toronto…

  • The Blue Jays asked the Diamondbacks about both left-hander Wade Miley and outfielder Mark Trumbo earlier this winter, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Arizona, in turn, asked for some of the Jays’ young pitching in return.  Interestingly, the Jays didn’t plan on keeping Trumbo, but rather flipping him to the Mariners for Michael Saunders, a player Toronto landed anyway by dealing J.A. Happ to Seattle.
  • Also from Elliott, the Jays have looked into signing free agent relievers Pat Neshek and Luke GregersonSportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi also notes that the Astros and Yankees are among the other clubs interested in Gregerson’s services.
  • The Blue Jays are one of three teams who have spoken to veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth, Davidi reports.
  • Munenori Kawasaki has looked into options in Japan and may now be considering returning in North America on a minor league deal, according to Davidi.  The Blue Jays would seem to be natural candidates to bring Kawasaki back, though manager John Gibbons wasn’t sure what was going on between the team and the infielder.

Reliever Rumors: Grilli, Braves, Farnsworth

The latest bullpen news..

  • The Braves have interest in free agent reliever Jason Grilli, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).  The Yankees have reportedly discussed Grilli as well.
  • The Astros have yet to talk to Grilli, but that could change, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth is out pounding the pavement in an effort to find a deal, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  Farnsworth told Topkin that he’s “too young to coach.”  Farnsworth pitched to a 4.40 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 35 appearances for the Mets and Astros last season.


Astros Outright Kyle Farnsworth, Who Elects Free Agency

1:07pm: Farnsworth has declined to accept an assignment and will instead elect free agency, tweets MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart.

10:39am: The Astros have outrighted reliever Kyle Farnsworth, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). Houston has selected the contract of Jose Veras to take his place on the active roster.

Farnsworth, a 38-year-old righty, has worked to a 6.17 ERA in 11 2/3 innings since joining the Astros, striking out eight hitters while walking nine. Combined with his earlier work with the Mets, his season ERA stands at 4.40 through 28 2/3 frames, with 5.7 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9.

Farnsworth generated some headlines when he expressed his displeasure at being released by the Mets shortly before he would have passed his advance-consent date and been guaranteed his full season’s contract. He then inked a big league deal with Houston that could have been worth up to $1.2MM with incentives.

Meanwhile, Veras will get a chance to right his career with the team for which he closed just last year. Dealt to the Tigers at the 2013 trade deadline, Veras somewhat surprisingly had his option declined by Detroit and ultimately signed on to be the Cubs’ closer. But after a productive 2013 (3.02 ERA in 62 2/3 innings), things went south in Chicago, where Veras saw his ERA balloon to 8.10 in 13 1/3 frames (with 8.8 K/9 against a troubling 7.4 BB/9).


Free Agent Notes: Burres, Carbonell, Coffey, Feliciano

Three clubs were willing to offer major league deals to Kyle Farnsworth, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Farnsworth chose the Astros in part because he could see high leverage chances and due to his relationship with manager Bo Porter. Here are some notes on a few other players who are still looking for their next professional opportunity:

  • Brian Burres, who has been throwing well this year in the independent Atlantic League, has recently received interest from a few clubs, MLBTR has learned. The 33-year-old southpaw carries a 1.80 ERA through 20 innings, striking out 6.3 and walking 1.8 batters per nine. Burress has 358 1/3 MLB innings under his belt; he last saw MLB time in 2011 with the Pirates.
  • The Yankees and Mariners are two of the five finalists to sign Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. The Twins attended Carbonell’s most recent showcase, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, and are “monitoring” him. Carbonell, 23, was declared a free agent back in April.
  • The Phillies are in on Todd Coffey, a source tells Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish (via Twitter).  The Orioles, meanwhile, are likely out on Coffey after signing Heath Bell (link).  Coffey has multiple offers in hand and could decide soon, according to sources.
  • Lefty Pedro Feliciano is getting a hard look from the Cardinals, according to Steve Nations of KSDK Sports. Feliciano threw live BP to Cards minor leaguers yesterday, and will appear in a simulated game today in hopes of convincing the St. Louis brass to give him a minor league deal. The 37-year-old has seen time in nine MLB campaigns, returning to the bigs for 25 appearances (but just 11 1/3 innings) with the Mets last year, putting up a 3.97 ERA. His career mark stands at 3.33 earned per nine over 383 2/3 frames.

Astros Sign Kyle Farnsworth

10:50am: Farnsworth can earn up to $1.2MM with the Astros if he hits all of his performance bonuses, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

10:38am: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) confirms that it’s a big league deal.

10:24am: The Astros have signed Kyle Farnsworth, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (on Twitter).

Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) cautioned everyone not to be surprised if the Astros wound up signing Farnsworth.  Houston, after all, is the team with the greatest need for the veteran as they have the highest bullpen ERA in the majors.

The Mets outrighted Farnsworth this week before his advance consent clause was set to lapse.  Had the Mets kept Farnsworth, they would have been on the hook for $750K for the rest of the season.  Rather than accept the assignment, the Barry Meister client elected free agency.

Prior to his release, Farnsworth, 38, served as the Mets’ closer at times and carried a 3.18 ERA through 17 innings. The veteran righty sports a 5.29 K/9 against 3.18 BB/9 to go with a 35.2% groundball rate on the year. That strikeout rate falls well below his career average of 8.80 K/9, continuing a precipitous decline in that mark in recent years. Over 977 career MLB innings, Farnsworth has a 4.24 ERA.

To make room for Farnsworth on the roster, Houston has optioned Paul Clemens to Triple-A.


Kyle Farnsworth Elects Free Agency

THURSDAY: Farnsworth has officially elected free agency, according to Marc Carig of Newsday (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 10:36pm: Farnsworth’s 45-day period actually was not set to expire until this Saturday, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday. Either way, of course, the cost savings were likely an element in the decision.

10:03pm: Farnsworth has actually been outrighted, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (links to Twitter). The veteran clearly indicated that he intends to refuse the assignment to Triple-A, telling reporters that he hopes to find a new club that will allow him to “play against this team.”

Farnsworth also added that today was the last day for the team to release him without guaranteeing him a full season’s worth of pay, based upon the advance-consent clause contained in his contract. As Rubin tweets, the Mets will avoid owing Farnsworth about $750K for the rest of the season.

9:53pm: The Mets have released reliever Kyle Farnsworth, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). As Adam Rubin of ESPN.com tweeted earlier today, a reliever appeared to be on the way out with lefty Josh Edgin being brought into two for “possible activation.”

Farnsworth, 38, had served as the club’s closer at times this year, and carried a 3.18 ERA through 17 innings. The veteran righty sports a 5.29 K/9 against 3.18 BB/9 to go with a 35.2% groundball rate on the year. That strikeout rate falls well below his career average of 8.80 K/9, continuing a precipitous decline in that mark in recent years for Farnsworth. Over 977 career MLB innings, Farnsworth has a 4.24 ERA.


Kyle Farnsworth Re-Signs With Mets

WEDNESDAY, 11:00am: Farnsworth is believed to have a May opt-out clause, Rubin reports.

9:45am: It appears that this saga can finally be put to rest, as Farnsworth has officially re-signed with the Mets, according to ESPN.com's Adam Rubin (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 10:46am: Agent Barry Meister tells MLBTR's Zach Links (via Twitter) that nothing has changed: Farnsworth is still "assessing his options" and has not re-signed with the Mets.

7:35am: Farnsworth's name is on the lineup card, so it appears that he has, in fact, re-signed with the Mets, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPN.com.  

MONDAY, 9:40am: "Farnsworth has not returned to the Mets and is exploring his options," agent Barry Meister tells Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.  "No agreement was or has been reached," adds the agent.  Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says Farnsworth is looking for a Major League deal, and if he can't find one, he may go back to the Mets.

8:22am: Reliever Kyle Farnsworth will re-sign with the Mets this week, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.  The deal will happen tomorrow, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday.  The maneuver is seemingly a way of avoiding paying Farnsworth a $100K retention bonus, the deadline for which is tomorrow at 11am central time.

Farnsworth, 38 in April, posted a 4.70 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.17 HR/9, and 45.5% groundball rate for the Rays and Pirates in 2013.  He was up to 95 miles per hour on his fastball in a strong September showing for the Bucs, although his velocity was reportedly (and not unusually) back down this spring.  The Mets initially inked Farnsworth to a minor league deal in February.

Two non-roster invitees do appear to make the Mets' Opening Day bullpen, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday: Jose Valverde and John Lannan.  Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Carlos Torres, Jeurys Familia, and Scott Rice will likely round out the seven-man crew.


Kyle Farnsworth Opts Out Of Mets Contract

3:20pm: Alderson confirms Farnsworth has been released, but could be re-signed in a couple of days, tweets Rubin. MLB.com's Anthony DiComo tweets the Mets tried to re-sign him today, but there may be interest from another club. 

1:20pm: Rubin tweets a source tells him Farnsworth and the Mets are in talks presumably discussing a minor league deal with an in-season opt out.

11:47am: Kyle Farnsworth has decided to exercise the out clause in his contract with the Mets, agent Barry Meister told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  The reliever was informed by GM Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco earlier today that he would not be on the Opening Day roster.

"The Mets gave him every opportunity and we are very appreciative of the way Sandy and John handled the situation," Meister said.

Farnsworth, 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.  However, he also posted his lowest K/9 rate since his rookie season in 1999 and his 92.6 mpg average in fastball velocity was a career-low.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


NL Notes: Farnsworth, Phillies, Diamondbacks

Reliever Kyle Farnsworth may not be long for the Mets organization, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York writes. He doesn't appear likely to make the team out of camp, and he has an opt-out clause he can activate tomorrow. Farnsworth is also an Article XX(B) player, which means that even if he were to decline his opt-out clause, the Mets would have to promise to add him to the roster, pay him a $100K retention bonus, or release him by Tuesday. Rubin mentions that the former flame-thrower's velocity has been off this spring, which means it may be tough for him to get a big-league job anywhere right now. Here are more notes from the National League.

  • The Phillies would like to add a starting pitcher, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets. There aren't many available, however, and the team doesn't have much money to spend. With Cole Hamels recovering from injury, the Phillies are a bit thin in starting pitching, although they don't need a fifth starter until April 14.
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, meanwhile, says he is not pursuing starting pitching, tweets MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. The Diamondbacks are short-handed after the loss of Patrick Corbin to injury.