RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: April 14, 1976
Drafted: 47th Round, 1290th Overall, 1994 (Cubs)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: Milton (GA) HS
Agent: Barry Meister
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Farnsworth has had a long career as a reliever, with his main calling card being a fastball that usually has averaged around 96 mph. His main secondary pitch has always been a slider and he’s recently started throwing a cutter. He’s generally had decent walk rates, although in some years they’ve been high, and he’s often had very high K rates. Like many relievers, his performance has been up and down. When it’s been down, he’s usually had high HR rates. He’s usually been a groundball pitcher, but for some reason he was a flyball pitcher during his years with the Yankees. In the last few years, his velocity has gradually declined to the 92-93 mph range.
Farnsworth signed nearly a year after he was drafted, as a draft-and-follow. He had little trouble pitching in relief in rookie ball, although his K rate was low.
The Cubs moved Farnsworth up to low A, where he joined the rotation. He remained a starter until he reached the majors. He got hit a little hard in low A.
Farnsworth moved up to high A and didn’t pitch very well, especially considering that it was the Florida State League.
Farnsworth improved dramatically in AA and earned a mid-season promotion. He then struggled in AAA.
The Cubs called Farnsworth up at the end of April and he spent most of the rest of the year with them, most of that in their rotation. He had serious gopher ball problems, allowing 28.
The Cubs opened the season with Farnsworth in their rotation. He struggled through five starts before they sent him to the bullpen. They finally sent him to AAA in late May, with his ERA standing at 9.07. He had uncharacteristic control problems there. The Cubs brought him back up in late July and he pitched much better, strictly in relief.
Farnsworth had an outstanding season out of the bullpen. He dramatically improved his K rate and held opponents to a .629 OPS.
Farnsworth went on the disabled list in early April with a stress fracture in his foot and missed two months. Once he returned, he struggled badly the rest of the year. Gopher balls were part of the problem, as he allowed one every five innings.
Farnsworth bounced back with a strong season.
Farnsworth slipped, having problems both with walks and HRs, as he allowed ten of the latter. Prior to the next season, the Cubs traded him to Detroit.
Farnsworth bounced back strongly with Detroit, then got sent in a deadline deal from the struggling Tigers to Atlanta. The Braves had been having trouble finding a closer and installed Farnsworth in the job, which he handled very well. He became a free agent after the season and signed a lucrative three-year deal with the Yankees.
With the Yankees, Farnsworth had a mediocre season.
Farnsworth slipped a little more, with his walk rate getting a little worse, and his K and HR rates getting much worse.
Farnsworth pitched better for the Yankees, allowing fewer runners and increasing his K rate. He went to Detroit in a deadline deal and got hit hard after the trade, with opponents batting .380 against him. HRs were a big problem all year, as he allowed one every four innings with both teams. After the season he signed another multiyear deal, this time two years with Kansas City.
Farnsworth pitched mediocre ball with the Royals through late June, when he went on the DL with a groin strain. He struggled after he returned in mid-August.
Farnsworth bounced back with the Royals, although his K rate dropped. For the second time in his career, he got traded to Atlanta in a deadline deal. Despite the ERA, he pitched well with the Braves. He signed a smaller two-year deal with the Rays after the season.
Tampa Bay was completely rebuilding its bullpen and made Farnsworth the closer. The move worked out very well, as Farnsworth made the transition to being more of a control pitcher than a huge strikeout guy. The lower K rate accompanied a decline in his velocity to a little under 95 mph.
Farnsworth missed the first half of the season with an elbow strain. He wasn’t nearly as effective when he returned, with control especially being a problem. His velocity was down to a little over 93 mph. The Rays re-signed him to a smaller, one-year contract after the season.
Farnsworth struggled through mid-August, when the Rays released him. He got hit much harder, the gopher ball problems returned and his velocity continued to drop. The Pirates signed Farnsworth to a minor league deal and sent him to Indianapolis. He pitched poorly in AAA, but the Pirates surprisingly called him up when rosters expanded on September 1. Equally surprisingly, he pitched well, allowing a run (albeit a walkoff HR) in only one of his nine games. He served part of the time in late-inning roles, as the Pirates no doubt wanted a veteran in Jason Grilli’s absence. He was not on the playoff roster.
Despite his pitching for the Pirates, Farnsworth’s velocity and, with it, his performance have been declining for two years. He’ll turn 38 early in the 2014 season and would not be a good risk, at least not on a major league contract. He’ll be a free agent and there’s been no indication whether or not the Pirates would like him to return, but if he does, hopefully it won’t be on anything more than a minor league contract.
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 1995
MLB Debut: 4/29/1999
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: 2013
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 2/26/03
Options Remaining: 0
MLB Service Time: 14.089
|June 2, 1994: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 47th round, 1290th overall pick; signed on May 12, 1995.
April 29, 1999: Contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.
February 9, 2005: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Detroit Tigers for Scott Moore, Roberto Novoa, and Bo Flowers.
July 31, 2005: Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Atlanta Braves for Roman Colon and Zach Miner.
October 31, 2005: Became a free agent.
December 5, 2005: Signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.
July 30, 2008: Traded by the New York Yankees to the Detroit Tigers for Ivan Rodriguez.
November 3, 2008: Became a free agent.
December 13, 2008: Signed as a free agent with the Kansas City Royals.
July 31, 2010: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Rick Ankiel to the Atlanta Braves for Jesse Chavez, Tim Collins and Gregor Blanco.
November 7, 2010: Became a free agent.
January 12, 2011: Signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.
November 3, 2012: Became a free agent.
February 5, 2013: Signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.
August 10, 2013: Released by the Tampa Bay Rays.
August 16, 2013: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
September 1, 2013: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.