Jerry Crasnick is reporting the Rays have landed Kyle Farnsworth.
Kyle Farnsworth has agreed to 1 year big league deal with #rays pending physical, says baseball source.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 24, 2013
Starting at a base salary of about $1.5M, Farnsworth could double that through incentives. The former Rays closer will add power to the Rays bullpen, which is shaping up to be a formidable force: Fernando Rodney, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, and Kyle Farnsworth are each capable of putting out fires and pitching in high leverage situations.
Farnsworth pitched in only 27 innings in 34 games last season due to injury, but has no issues striking men out on his return. In 2011, Farnsy struck out nearly 8 per 9, or 22% of batters, with a career low 1.87 BB/9 (5.2%). His walk numbers jumped in 2012 to over 11%, but the worst of those came in July, when he first returned from his three month elbow strain.
Farnsworth's pitches include a 95 MPH fastball, mixed in with a 90 MPH cutter, a slider that ranked 9th in baseball in 2011, according to Fangraph's leaderboards, and a sinker. The combination propelled him to a 55% ground ball rate in 2012, a shade higher than his renaissance year in 2011. The Professor leaned on that slider more than ever when he returned in 2012, upping his usage from 26% to 32%, but his out-pitch still appears to be his sinker.
Many teams could have benefited from Farnsworth's closer-level talent, so this is quite a win by the front office. Location could have played a major influence in this signing. Farnsworth lives in Clermont, and was known to bring his kids with him to the clubhouse.