The Rays signed reliever Kyle Farnsworth to a one-year contract with an option for 2012 earlier this month, but Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times has some interesting contract details.
Farnsworth receives a base salary of $2.6 million this season and either a $3.3 million option or $650,000 buyout for 2012. The interesting part is that in both years of the contract, Farnsworth could make an additional $300,000 in incentives based on games finished, so this is an early hint that the Rays signed him with the ninth inning in mind.
At the very least, he’ll be an insurance policy while prospect left-hander Jake McGee gets acclimated to the big leagues. The 24-year-old fireballer was lights out after moving to the bullpen with Triple-A Durham last season, posting a 0.59 ERA and 23/3 K/BB ratio over 15 1/3 innings before making his major league debut last September. The job should be his before long.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.