Update: Farnsworth has chosen to return to the Rays on a one-year deal, per Jerry Crasnick.
The following was originally posted on January 22.
Kyle Farnsworth will choose his home for the 2013 season in the coming days, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The soon-to-be 37-year-old reliever is set to pick between two suitors: The Rays and a mystery team.
We offered a quiet reflection of Farnsworth’s Rays tenure earlier in the week without accounting for the possibility of his return. Here’s the short version of that analysis: Farnsworth showed continued effectiveness following an early season absence due to elbow woes. Although his overall numbers were mediocre (a 4.00 ERA and 1.79 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 27 innings) much of the damage occurred in one outing; a July 4 appearance against the Yankees. Stripping away any player’s lowest moment is admittedly a little cheap (not to mention often mendacious), but in this case one rotten apple is spoiling the bunch.
In the 32 appearances following Farnsworth’s meltdown, he completed 25 2/3 innings, struck out 22 batters, walked nine (two intentionally, which makes for a strikeout-to-unintentional walk rate of more than 3.00), and compiled a 3.16 ERA. Not quite 2011 but good enough to merit a guaranteed spot in the bullpen should Farnsworth opt to return to Tampa Bay.
It’s worth noting that were Farnsworth were to return it would mean both of the key free-agent additions to the 2011 bullpen remained with the club after their initial contracts expired. The Rays often have to hunt for the next Farnsworth and the next Peralta. This would be a rarity, albeit a welcomed one.