NEW YORK, NY - JULY 07: Kyle Farnsworth #43 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Contract Status: $2.6 million, with a $3.3 million option for 2012.
Rest of Season Projection: 3.24 ERA, 2.92 FIP
Trade Value: $4-6 million, one "B" grade prospect.
While Kyle Farnsworth actually rated as having less trade value than Kotchman, I don't see how that's actually the case in real life. Relief pitchers tend to get underrated slightly by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and teams tend to overrate the important of closers. Farnsworth has a shiny ERA and a handy collection of saves, and he's signed for next season at a very affordable price. Considering the Brewers were willing to gamble with Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option in order to upgrade their bullpen, I've got to imagine there's some contending team out there willing to pay an hefty price for Farnsworth.
Should the Rays actually trade Farnsworth, though? While the Rays' bullpen has a 3.62 ERA, they haven't been as impressive as you'd think; that ERA ranks as 18th best in the majors, and when you look at their performance from a defense-independent perspective, they've posted a 4.09 FIP - 7th worst in the majors. Farnsworth has been one of the lone consistent, effective relievers in the bullpen, so it'd seem like folly to trade him right now.
Then again, there's reason to be optimistic about the rest of the Rays' bullpen. J.P. Howell seems to be pulling out of his early funk, Juan Cruz has stopped walking people and has been quite effective over the last few months, and the Rays could promote both Brandon Gomes and Jake McGee for extended stretches over the remainder of the year. Even if Farnsworth is traded, this bullpen could be even better in the second half than it was in the first half.
In the end, it depends on what other teams are offering. If someone overwhelms the Rays with a big package for Farnsworth, there's little stopping them from trading him. But if they don't get any packages they like, the Rays can hold onto Farnsworth and content themselves with having an effective, cheap closer for the next season and a half. They can't really go wrong either way.