The Tampa Bay Rays continue to strengthen their bullpen by resigning Kyle Farnsworth to a one year deal. The base salary is between $1.25-$1.5 million, but Farnsworth can earn up to $3 million with incentives depending on how he performs next season.
Farnsworth, who spent most of last season on the disabled list, was slightly inconsistent when he returned from injury, posting a 4.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 27 innings of work. However, Farnsworth is just a year removed from a spectacular 2011 campaign in which he had a 2.18 ERA and 0.99 WHIP to go along with 25 saves.
While there is certainly no guarantee that Farnsworth will return to his 2011 form, his numbers are likely to find a middle ground between 2011 and 2012, as he will healthy at the beginning of the season in 2013 and participating in Spring Training.
The Rays had one of the strongest bullpens in the MLB last season, anchored by closer Fernando Rodney and his miraculous 0.60 ERA.
With the departures of J.P. Howell to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the trade sending Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals, it was imperative that the Rays resign Farnsworth to strengthen the depth in their bullpen.
Young arms such as Alex Cobb, Chris Archer, and Jake Odorizzi will compete for a rotation spot, but some may find themselves in the bullpen to further aid this unit. Veteran Roberto Hernandez may also pitch out of the bullpen. The Rays also resigned Joel Peralta earlier this offseason.
Overall, this is a classic example of a Rays free agent signing, as Tampa Bay waited patiently for an inexpensive option with considerable upside like Farnsworth to fall into their laps.