Right-handed reliever Kyle Farnsworth has signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He will join the Indianapolis Indians in Triple-A. The 37-year-old struggled with the Tampa Bay Rays this season, posting a 5.76 ERA in 29.2 innings.
Over his three seasons pitching for the Rays, Farnsworth posted the following numbers:
- 3.54 ERA
- 3.52 FIP
- 50% ground ball rate
- 95 strikeouts
- 33 walks
- 114.1 innings
The Rays designated him for assignment and released him on August 9.
Farnsworth certainly qualifies as veteran relief that could provide serviceable innings in September as a tryout for the playoff roster. He has pitched in 15 career postseason games and has closed games as recently as 2011 in Tampa Bay. This season, Farnsworth has averaged 95 mph on his fourseam fastball, but relies more on his sinker (92.4 mph) and his cutter (86.6 mph), according to Brooks Baseball.
If he pitches for the Major League team, the Pirates would mark Farnsworth’s seventh franchise since he made the bigs in 1999. He has the third-most appearances of any active pitcher (849 games), trailing only Mariano Rivera and LaTroy Hawkins.
UPDATE 6:40 PM: Thoughts from Tim Williams on the deal…
Farnsworth has had some good numbers in the past, and he has great stuff. He’s not a bad flier to take for added depth. However, he’s performing poorly this year and getting up there in age. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ultimately ends up taking over a key bullpen role in Indianapolis after everyone gets promoted to Pittsburgh. The Indians will most likely get raided for Vic Black, Duke Welker, Ryan Reid, and probably a few starters. They’re also in line to make the playoffs. I think it’s more likely that Farnsworth takes over in Triple-A for their playoff run, replacing all of the guys who will be called up to help the Pirates for their playoff run.