Thursday, January 24, 2013
Rays' bullpen better in '13?
By Jason A. Churchill
The Tampa Bay Rays, led by skipper Joe Maddon, pitching coach Jim Hickey and GM Andrew Friedman, already have proven they know how to build a bullpen for cheap and use them optimally. The club's relief corps led the American League in ERA at 2.88 in 2012. Is there a a chance they are better in 2013?
One of the factors that go into that thought is the return of Kyle Farnsworth, who inked a one-year deal Thursday, reports ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Farnsworth was on the team in 2012, but managed just 27 appearance due to injury. If the 36-year-old is healthy this coming season, the Rays' bullpen could put up similar numbers. Considering they traded Wade Davis, a big part of last year's group, Farnsworth alone isn't likely to make them that much better than they were a year ago.
The veteran's presence, however, gives Maddon and Hickey another experienced option in the ninth inning, and the cost -- reportedly around $1.5 million guaranteed, plus incentives -- is very team-friendly. Another coup for Friedman and company. Big surprise.