Kyle Farnsworth’s contract includes incentives for games finished

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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.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves