Rays sign Kelly Johnson, Kyle Farnsworth to one-year contracts

ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent right-handed relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth, and free agent second baseman/outfielder Kelly Johnson to one-year, major league contracts. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays have designated for assignment infielders Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson.

Farnsworth, 36, will earn a base salary of $1.25 million in 2013. The 14-year veteran will start his third year with the Rays after compiling a 2.76 ERA (84.2-IP, 26-ER) over the 2011-12 seasons. He missed nearly half the 2012 season after being sidelined with a right elbow strain that he suffered during spring training. After being activated from the disabled list on June 30, he posted a 4.00 ERA (27-IP, 12-ER) in 34 games. As the Rays primary closer in 2011, he recorded career bests with 25 saves and a 2.18 ERA. He ranks third among active pitchers with 810 career appearances, trailing only Mariano Rivera (1,051) and LaTroy Hawkins (871).

Johnson, 30, will earn a base salary of $2.45 million in 2013. In 2012, the left-handed hitter batted .225 (114-for-507) with 16 home runs, 55 RBI, 62 walks and 14 stolen bases in 142 games with the Toronto Blue Jays. He made 133 starts at second base and his 59 walks as a second baseman ranked second in the American League behind only Jason Kipnis (66) of the Cleveland Indians. Over the last three seasons, he has averaged 21 home runs, 61 RBI, 67 walks, 14 stolen bases and 148 games played. A veteran of seven major league seasons, he has spent time with the Atlanta Braves (2005, 2007-09), Arizona Diamondbacks (2010-11) and Blue Jays (2011-12).