Kyle Farnsworth Rumors
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.
The market for relievers will start to move in the next month or so as teams look to round out their bullpens with one-year deals. Some reporting on the topic today from MLBTR:
- Teams are planning to watch free agent righty Carlos Marmol, who is currently pitching for Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League playoffs. Marmol has discussed a Major League deal with three teams, MLBTR has learned, and there's a good chance he signs this month. The 31-year-old posted a 4.41 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 7.3 BB/9, 1.29 HR/9, and 37.6% groundball rate in 49 innings for the Cubs and Dodgers in 2013. Marmol began 2013 as the Cubs' closer but was designated for assignment in June and eventually traded along with the club's fourth international bonus slot to the Dodgers for Matt Guerrier. He wound up making two appearances in the NLCS for the Dodgers after appearing in 21 games for them in the regular season.
- Though nothing is imminent for another former Cubs closer, Kyle Farnsworth, MLBTR's Zach Links hears six to eight clubs have varying degrees of interest. 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 in 38 1/3 innings for the Rays and Pirates in 2013. Released by the Rays in August, he pitched well in his month with Pittsburgh. He averaged 95.5 miles per hour on his fastball in September, according to Brooks Baseball.
- Free agent relievers Brandon Lyon and Pat Neshek are also looking for big league deals, adds Links. They're joined by Luis Ayala, who we reported earlier today has drawn interest from the Tigers, Indians, and Orioles among other teams.
The Pirates announced, via press release, that they have signed right-hander Kyle Farnsworth to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. The 37-year-old Farnsworth was released by the Rays on Sunday after being designated for assignment.
Farnsworth posted a 5.76 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate in 29 2/3 innings for Tampa Bay this season -- his third year with the club. He served as the Rays' closer in 2011, saving 25 games with a 2.18 ERA over the course of 57 2/3 innings. He's lost some life on his fastball in the past two seasons but still averages a healthy 92.5 mph on the pitch. Farnsworth is represented by Meister Sports Management.
SUNDAY: The Rays have released Farnsworth, according to the team's transaction page.
FRIDAY: The Rays have designated right-hander Kyle Farnsworth for assignment, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Josh Lueke will be recalled from Triple-A Durham to take his place on the roster.
Farnsworth, 37, served as the Rays' closer back in the 2011 season and posted a masterful 2.18 ERA with 25 saves, but it's been downhill since then. He posted a 4.00 ERA last season and has pitched to a 5.76 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 29 2/3 innings this season. His fastball is averaging a career-worst 92.5 mph. Farnsworth signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract with the Rays back in February.
ESPN's Jayson Stark begins his latest column with a look at the Biogenesis situation. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported, suspension announcements are not expected today. Sherman expects the announcements to come Thursday or Friday. In Stark's opinion, the Rangers are acting like a team that knows what Nelson Cruz will do if suspended, in that their aggressive search for a bat suggests he might serve a suspension now to preserve his free agent value. Meanwhile, the Tigers' lack of pursuit of a backup plan to shortstop Jhonny Peralta suggests he'll appeal. Elsewhere in Stark's column:
- The Dodgers and Angels, who haven't made a trade in 20 years, had a "mostly casual conversation" regarding Halos second baseman Howie Kendrick. There are no indications a deal is in the works.
- The Angels are at least listening on infielders Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Alberto Callaspo, and seeking high quality big league ready pitching in return.
- The Cubs could move Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz, but are extremely unlikely to trade lefty reliever James Russell and there's just about zero chance of a Jeff Samardzija trade.
- Pitchers Ian Kennedy and J.J. Putz of the Diamondbacks and Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays "have suddenly been made available." Trading Kennedy would allow Arizona to clear around $1.4MM toward another move. Are they that hard up for cash?
The MLBPA announced that Dave Prouty has been promoted to the position of general counsel, replacing executive director Michael Weiner in that role. The 54-year-old Prouty becomes the fourth general counsel in the history of the MLBPA. “I am confident that Dave will excel in his new role and that the players will continue to receive the high level of legal representation they have come to expect from their union,” Weiner said. Here are some links from around MLB...
- While emphasizing that GM Brian Sabean decides which players to sign, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy won't rule out a return for Brian Wilson, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. "I can't say that [Wilson] will be back." But, Bochy added, "I can't say the door's closed on Brian Wilson. ... I don't think that's completely shut."
- The Mets are still hopeful on Michael Bourn and General Manager Sandy Alderson talking about him publicly is a positive sign, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, nothing appears to be imminent between the club and the top remaining free agent left on the open market.
- In an appearance on ESPN Dallas’ the Ben & Skin Show, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said he hopes to stay in Texas long-term (story via Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com). However, the Scott Boras client said he’s prepared to “see what happens” when his contract expires following the 2014 season. “We’re still talking about it. That’s all I can say. For sure, I would love to stay here.”
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti suggested on MLB Network that free agent third baseman Scott Rolen will "probably end up some other place than Los Angeles,"Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. The Dodgers had “some interest” in bringing Rolen on to provide depth at the corner infielder positions, Colletti acknowledged.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has the details on the incentives included in the contracts for Kyle Farnsworth and Kelly Johnson. The Rays announced their deals with both players yesterday.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
The Rays announced that they have signed free agent reliever Kyle Farnsworth to a one-year, Major League contract. Farnsworth will earn a base salary of $1.25MM with the chance to double his earnings through incentives.
Farnsworth posted a 4.00 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and a 55.1% ground ball rate in 27 innings for the Rays in 2012. The 36-year-old earned $3.3MM in 2012, up from $2.6MM in 2011. He was linked to the Brewers this offseason and had multiple offers as recently as last week. He ultimately narrowed his choices to the Rays and another unknown club. Meister Sports Management represents Farnsworth.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick first reported the agreement (Twitter links). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times all reported on the value of the deal (Twitter links).
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links)...
- The Marlins and Rays are among the possibilities for Bobby Abreu, Heyman reports. Abreu, 38 in March, hopes to extend his career following an unremarkable offensive season in 2012.
- The Blue Jays are still in the bullpen market along with the Mets, Heyman reports. The Marlins, Astros and Dodgers might also be involved in pursuit of relievers, Heyman adds. Here are the details on the Mets’ bullpen targets.
- The Rays will likely officially announce their deals with Kyle Farnsworth, Luke Scott and Kelly Johnson next week, Heyman reports.
Interest in Farnsworth has intensified recently, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last week. The Meister Sports Management client had multiple offers at that time. Farnsworth, 36, posted a 4.00 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and a 55.1% ground ball rate in 27 innings for the Rays in 2012. He earned $3.3MM in 2012, up from $2.6MM in 2011.
2:24pm: The Rays are "definitely in the mix" for Farnsworth, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter).
8:17am: Interest in free agent right-hander Kyle Farnsworth is intensifying following Rafael Soriano’s agreement with the Nationals, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Farnsworth has multiple offers and has narrowed his choices from six teams to three, according to Rosenthal.
Farnsworth, a client of Meister Sports Management, spent last year with the Rays. The 36-year-old posted a 4.00 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 4.7 BB/9 and a 55.1% ground ball rate in 27 innings. He earned $3.3MM in 2012, up from $2.6MM in 2011.
It’s been a quiet offseason for Farnsworth rumors, but he has been linked to the Rays and Brewers. The Rays, Tigers, Blue Jays, Mariners, Marlins and Mets are among the teams still seeking late-inning relief, according to Rosenthal. I recently examined the market for right-handed relievers.