Jake Faria was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round of the 2011 draft and spent the first 40 games of his big league career — spread across the 2017-19 seasons — in St. Petersburg. The Rays shipped him to Milwaukee in exchange for Jesus Aguilar at the 2019 trade deadline, and he proceeded to post an 11.42 ERA for the Brewers in 8 2/3 innings. Milwaukee designated him for assignment in January 2020 and ultimately released him in mid-September after passing through waivers unclaimed. (Faria did not appear in an MLB game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.) He signed with Arizona this past June and appeared in 23 games, including three starts, for the hapless Diamondbacks striking out 32 batters in 32 2/3 innings.
Faria boasts a four-pitch mix — four-seamer, splitter, curveball, and slider — though he leans heavily on his fastball, which sits around 92 mph. However, while his fastball is nothing to write home about, his splitter is, inarguably, an above average offering.
His splitter helped propel him to a promising rookie campaign in 2017 when he produced 1.3 fWAR, an 81 ERA-, and a 3.43 ERA in 16 total games (14 starts). However, his iffy tertiary and quaternary stuff (i.e. his slider and curveball) have tanked an otherwise promising start to his career.
Faria has never produced anything near what he did during his age-23 season. However, bringing him in on a minor league deal represents a zero risk, decent reward opportunity for the Twins. In a best-case scenario, he is added to the 40-man roster and functions in a similar role to that of Devin Smeltzer from past seasons; a serviceable long inning relief arm who has the ability to step up into a spot-starter role on occasion. In a worst-case scenario, he sticks around at Triple-A and provides organizational pitching depth, something that is always in dire need.
In many respects, the signing of Faria is emblematic of the Twins front office’s approach to finding bullpen arms. They often look for pitchers who can be signed for cheap (i.e. short-term or minor league deals) and possess at least one offering that displays some signs of being elite. Matt Wisler rose to prominence after a middling career due his high-end slider. The Twins will likely hope to accomplish the same feat by relying on Faria’s splitter.