Apparently the Rays missed Edwin Jackson. Because according to Buster Olney, the Rays have signed the white, relief pitcher version of Jackson, Kyle Farnsworth, two a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. There is even an option year that could push the total value to $6.0 million.

Well, we knew the bullpen wouldn’t be as good in 2011, but we didn’t realize the Rays would actually go with Farnsworth.



  1. Rytor says:

    I have no problem with the move, as long as it’s not in the highest of leverage situations. Hopefully that newfound cutter is, in fact, an effective pitch for him, because a straight 95+ mph fastball is not going to cut it.

    As long as the money spent doesn’t affect potential 1B/DH moves, I’m fine with it.

  2. Derek says:

    Still looks better than that Benoit deal. How about that 10 million dollar deal that Kevin Gregg signed? Ill take this deal, thanks.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Why, was Gregg the only other option?

      • Derek says:

        Im saying that he is “worth” just as much as those two, yet we pay him a fraction of what they will make over the course of the next two/three years. So, when one or all of these guys put up bad 2011 numbers. The Rays are the only team who’s able to get out from under their contract.

        • Indiana Rays Boy says:

          Kevin Gregg is garbage. He is king of giving up home runs and blowing saves. Not worth mentioning his name on that list since he is the Orioles problem. I hope Kyle Farnsworth doesn’t fall asleep in team meetings and punting baseballs during batting practice like he did in Chicago.

  3. Michael says:

    Of course, Cok has to look at the bad things. Nice unbiased article there buddy. You realize he was pretty good the past two years?

    • Michael says:

      I mean Cork.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Guess those 12 zillion, kartillion positive comments about the Rays don’t count if I have 2 or 3 critical comments.

      You want pom-poms and ass-kissing, that corner of the market is already filled elsewhere.

      And I don’t have a problem with Farnsworth. I have a problem with taking the money saved on Garza and giving it to a guy that hasn’t been worth more than 1 win since 2005.

      • Andy says:

        My only problem with the article is the phrase “There is even an option year that could push the total value to $6.0 million,” being said as if this is a BAD thing.

        And your point?

        The Rays would only exercise the option if Farnsworth pitched well, so whats the problem?

        • Cork Gaines says:

          Option years aren’t free. There is a buyout.

          • Andy says:

            So then it could raise the value of the contract to 3.5-3.75 million. But if the option were exercised, its a sign of a good season.

            Either the Rays got a great bargain here, or they wasted 3.5 million dollars…but under no circumstances have they or will they waste 6 million with this signing.

      • Derek says:

        Saying that this is the “Garza money” is kind of the wrong way to look at it. How much did Balfour or Wheeler make last year? Ill call this the “Wheeler money” He made 3.5 mill last year.

        • John S says:

          HIs numbers have improveda lot over the last 2 years.
          He will be remembered for his Yankees blow up but really he is a different pitcher.
          Better groundball rate (still average though) but a much better HR allowed rate (from 6% to 2%). HR rate being HR/PA.
          2% is good.
          I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around the deal but he basically got Jon Rauch (yes they have very similar numbers) for probably half the price and have a protected option for next season.
          I am still on the fence but you actually look at the data it isn’t that bad.

          • Derek says:

            I just dont see why people assume this is it. We will get another bullpen arm, and a decent bat. Is there really anyone else that would sign for a year, who is worth 3.2? None that I can think of.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          But the payroll was coming way down. Nobody gets Wheeler’s money.

          • Derek says:

            I dont see a need to dispute where this money came from. I doubt the Rays announce Farnsworth as their closer, and we needed someone who has at least had some major league success. I dont know if you expected to resign Balfour or not, but it was probably never an option.

      • Michael says:

        He has been worth 1.7 WAR the past two seasons. I don’t love every single move the FO does (they don’t do to many bad ones though) and I never said I love this deal. However, this comment you made “Well, we knew the bullpen wouldn’t be as good in 2011, but we didn’t realize the Rays would actually go with Farnsworth.” makes it sound as if he is some horrible scrub, which he wasn’t last year or the year before.

        Plus, if you listened to the interview of Friedman yesterday, you would know we were getting two relievers and a stick or two. Not a bad way to use the Garza money if you ask me.

        • Michael says:

          1 WAR is equivalent to 5 million.

          • Cork Gaines says:

            Yes, based on what it would cost to replace production of 1 win, averaged across all positions. Finding 0.85 WAR from a relief pitcher shouldn’t cost $3.25M, especially when Friedman and Co are such geniuses.

          • Andy says:

            When you say things like “Especially since they are such geniuses” you undermine your own credibility regarding neutrality.

            I like that this site reports both the good and the bad regarding the Rays…I really do. But sarcastic comments such as this make it look like you have an axe to grind.

          • Cork Gaines says:

            I happen to think they are geniuses, I am just not so naive to think they have never made a mistake in the bullpen.

          • Andy says:

            By the way Cork, sarcasm aside, I agree with your basic point and think they overpaid. But then again, we don’t know what the asking price is on other relievers right now, so maybe the market has changed.

            I’d prefer in-house options.

  4. Joe says:

    Farnsworth still gets hate from his Yankee days but his fly
    ball rate has continued to drop, he has been walking a lot less
    people and overall has just been a much better pitcher the last 2
    years, I think he took Ekstrom’s spot so there is a bonus right
    there. One more reliever, a Balfour/Rauch/Fuentes type and that’s
    set and then it’s DH time. I will take Fuentes and Manny….I

  5. Gus says:

    Picking up my theme from the prior thread:

    This feels like they’ve gone to the same theory (relievers are fluky so we will only buy cheap and never pay real money) that has failed them so miserably before. This signing feels a lot more like the Izzy, Percival, sore-armed Japaneese guy, Qualls, Bradford acquisitions than the genius of Benoit and Soriano. I’d much prefer grooming a young closer and other young relievers. I mind stinking with veterans who are playing only because of their contracts (Shoppach, Burrell, Percival) much more than a meritocracy of young players.

    Interesting fact: Farnsworth is 10% of the Rays payroll at the moment. I think nobody will make more than him this season except Upton and Shields!

    This is a signing only Chuck LaMar would love. He has tools — he just can’t play.

    Signing Farnsworth is the day the 2% jumped the shark.

    • Derek says:

      Hickey was why we got Qualls, and he still should net us a draft pick. “Only buy cheap, and never pay real money” “Farnsworth is 10% of the Rays payroll at the moment.” What are you asking that they do? Sign Sori for 45 mill?

      • Gus says:

        If Soriano is too expensive now, it is only because the Rays didn’t commit early to him. If you cede the debate to the ownership that payroll should only be $40M, then Farnsworth-level guys are your closers (and even at $3.5M, I’d think they could spend their money in a better way on a failed pitcher like Farnsworth).

        I beg to differ, and think this signing is a further indication that ownership values $ far more than wins at this point and are tanking the season.

        I feel for Maddon. He’s got the worst bullpen ever and management will make him use Farnsworth even in the likely event that he proves to be ineffective.

        • Andy says:

          Worst bullpen ever? Were you around in 2007?

          “Working upward, the 1967 Astros had an ERA+ of 70 in 427.1 innings. The 1955 A’s threw 482 reliever innings, with an ERA+ of 72. That was their first season in Kansas City – a helluva way to get started. The 2007 Devil Rays had a 75 ERA+ in 497 innings. That’s the worst bullpen of recent times.”

          • Gus says:

            Trust me, the scars that the 2007 bullpen left in my soul remain. Which is part of the reason why the bullpen is such a concern to me (and to Maddon, who doesn’t say much about his raw material, but it made it clear he was hoping they could keep part of the 2009 bullpen together). In the AL East, bad bullpens are exposed without mercy (just ask O’s fans). To have a team that is so solid in starting end and so poor in the back end is an injustice. This recycled vets approach has failed the Rays in every year except 2010 — the year the bullpen was close to $15M and had a legit, hard throwing closer. If you think Kyle Farnsworth is the man for the job, go email Joe Poasnaski or Neyer or anybody else who suffered through him in KC.

            I’ve said it before — I’d rather go with a young bullpen of live arms than go through 2007-09 bullpens again.

        • Derek says:

          I have no idea what youre even talking about, with any of this! How would you spend the money. “Failed” Clearly he was successful enough the last two years. Successful enough for the playoff bound Braves to trade for him, and use him in the playoffs against the Giants.

          • MJ says:

            so you think he was “successful enough” to justify $3.65 mil for 1 year? I think we will be able to criticize or laud this deal with more clarity once we see how much money the FO spends the rest of the off-season and how that is allocated. If they split $6mil or less between a DH and another RP, then this seems like too much to give Farnsworth.

          • Derek says:

            I fail to see how you could get a better one year deal. Whats the difference between Farnsworth and Balfour? Other than Balfour wants more money and more years.

    • Derek says:

      What were you even talking about in that other thread? Balfour never recoded a save in the bigs till he played for us, and Benoit pitched like 30-40? innings in 08, and had a BB/9 of 7.00! At least Farnsworth has had a number of successful years, including the last two. Neither Balfour or Benoit new what success was when we signed them. I like this deal. I like it because its for one year. You dont get a better deal than this for only one year. We were something like 20 million under the “projected” payroll for next year. Now were at 16.8… Sounds good to me

      • Gus says:

        Balfour emerged as a key guy in Minnesota’s bullpen in 2004, even pitching the playoffs. He cost the Rays minimum salary when he was acquired for McClung (I think). But he was effective.

        Benoit’s hint of effectiveness was in 2007 in Texas, and he had 6 saves. He cost the Rays $850,000 last year.

        Farnsworth has been a widely thought of disaster for many years, hence everyone’s reaction of disappointment. He might be worth a shot at $1-1.5M. $3.5M seems to overpaying in an inflated reliever market. He’ll be 35 in April and is a spare ppart for a bullpen; not hits highest paid member. Literally, I’d rather they spend that $3.5 in paying Price and Longo and buysing some long-term good will than blow it on a guy who won’t be on the roster in August.

        • Derek says:

          Come on, this is crazy. None cares what those two did for a half a season five years ago….. My point was, neither has proven they are any better than Farnsworth, yet did/will command more money and more years this offseason. Dont try and tell me that six saves from 2007 make Benoit worth anything. He had ONE great year, and got a 16 million dollar, three year deal. Balfour has had two good years.(2008 and 2010) He also wants a several year deal that would pay him several million dollars. Its not overpaying… youre not going to get a cheaper option, Ill add, a cheaper option, who has MLE, and has proven several times in his career that he can be just as effective as Balfour. There is nothing. nothing that you can say to prove to me that Balfour is the better option. All because you didnt like Farnsworth from four years ago. Maybe there is someone else who you like. Someone Im sure this team scouted and didnt like for whatever reason, or maybe they will still sign that person. Im forced to believe that Farns is worth it, till 2011 is over and someone can prove me wrong.

        • Derek says:

          Balfour, the “key guy” who pitched 40 innings in 2004. (55 this year) He also had a BB/9 of nearly five. I somehow missed Benoit’s 2007. You are right, but he is still a huge injury risk and I think the Tigers will regret that deal when it goes south. Where as this deal might suck. Its not going to be that bad.

    • Indiana Rays Boy says:

      Gus, the sore arm Japanese guy was Shinji Mori (he wore good old number 11). That Chad Qualls deal was a waste, Hickey and Balfour were horse playing during batting practice and Balfour went on the DL which led to the Qualls for Matt Gorgen trade (UGH!!!). The bullpen will be Russell, Eckstrom, McGee, Howell, Sonnanstine, Farnsworth, Peralta and hopefull to guy Balfour back and get Rauch or Fuentes.

  6. MJ says:

    It seems they may have overpaid imo, but this has traits of a typical Rays FO signing. If the FO says they want 2 RPs and a DH, I would have preferred to see money go to Balfour and Damon/Thome/Vlad and the third RP be in house or something much cheaper than what they are giving Farnsworth. Time will tell.

  7. a.j. says:

    I’m indifferent on the signing. At first, I was confused, but after seeing his last two years, maybe it’ll work. It’s not a deal that will hamper us if it doesn’t work. I definitely don’t agree calling our bullpen the worst ever! We have a few guys who are somewhat unproven though, and that worries many of us. But relievers are the toughest pitchers to judge! Some years they’re lights out, and some they’re just plain lousy. Look at Balfour! 2008 he was amazing…09 he was less than mediocre…2010 he puts up another great year! You can never tell what will happen with bullpen guys! I’m going to be optimistic though and hope he works out well!

  8. Tone says:

    I would have been fine if this deal was for 1 million…but almost 4? That sucks.

    • KillaTapes says:

      3.25 is almost 4? Since when?

      • Tone says:

        Add in the buy out they will have to fork over after he SUCKS the life out of this team and it gets closer to 4. Funny, you seem defensive of this move. Hope your optimism for Farny pans out, 99% of baseball fans agree, Kyle Farnsworth sucks ass. 3.25 is still a gigantic overpay for garbage.

        • Gus says:

          The extra 2% feel like an extra 200% in the case of Farnsworth’s contract.

          I would be okay if the Rays never signed another free agent who will make north $1.5M. They are not good at signing guys out of this pool. I’d much rather have them evaluate guys up close and extend and pay them(ala Zobrist) rather than flail around in the free agent market. If they need to add talent, let them do it at the trade deadline where they can add payroll there.

          The free agent market is too competitive for this penny-pinching ownership. When have the Rays spent successfully in the free-agent market? I’m struggling to come up with any good free agent signings in the 2% era.

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