Kyle Farnsworth, the Internet's favorite relief pitcher, has agreed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays worth $3.25 million. The news was originally reported by our Rays blog, DRaysBay, and was quickly confirmed by ESPN's Buster Olney.
Olney added via Twitter that Farnsworth's deal includes and option and that it "could be worth $6 million over 2 yrs."
Farnsworth spent 2010 with both the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves, and finished with a 3.34 ERA in 60 games and 64.2 innings pitched. He had a solid first half of the season, but after getting traded to the Braves Farnsworth struggled with a 5.40 ERA.
DRaysBay says that "Farnsworth is a reliever that fits the Rays' mold well":
[H]e's a fastball / slider pitcher that generates lots of strikeouts, induces an average number of groundballs, and appears to be undervalued by most teams. His peripheral statistics compare well with Jon Rauch, yet Rauch is seen as a hot commodity on the market while Farnsworth has slipped below the radar. [...]
At the very least, Farnsworth is a cheap, undervalued reliever that has the potential for some high upside at the back of the Rays' bullpen. He is a risk, but so are all relief pitchers and Andrew Friedman's team has proven very good at evaluating talent over the past few years. Going forward, the Rays may still targeting one more reliever, but overall the 2011 bullpen is nearly complete.
The Rays have already had to depart with relievers RHP Joaquin Benoit (signed with Tigers) and RHP Dan Wheeler (signed with Red Sox), so Farnsworth should add a certain level of dependability to Tampa's bullpen.