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AP Source: Farnsworth nears deal with Rays

- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (AP) - Free agent reliever Kyle Farnsworth is approaching an agreement on a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The deal could be agreed to Thursday or Friday and will be worth about $3.25 million, the person said. The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been finalized.

The Rays, rebuilding their bullpen after winning the AL East last season, declined comment.

Farnsworth split time last season between the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves, going 3-2 with a 3.34 ERA in 60 games. The 34-year-old right-hander has pitched for five teams during a 12-year career and is 34-55 with a 4.39 ERA in 713 career games.

A stronger-than-expected bullpen was one of the keys to Tampa Bay winning its second division title in three years, however a tight budget has not allowed executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to keep the unit intact for next season.

Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler have already departed via free agency, and Grant Balfour and All-Star closer Rafael Soriano, who saved a franchise-record 45 games in 2010, are expected to sign elsewhere, too. Farnsworth would join right-handed reliever Joel Peralta, who received a $925,000, one-year contract, as offseason additions.

Key losses are not limited to the bullpen, though.

All-Star left-fielder Carl Crawford signed a $142 million, seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox and slugger Carlos Pena agreed to a $10 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Shortstop Jason Bartlett was traded to the San Diego Padres and starting pitcher Matt Garza was dealt to the Cubs in an eight-player trade last week.

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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