Former A’s reliever T.J. McFarland signs in St. Louis

Oct 8, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher T.J. McFarland (38) pitches against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning during game four of the 2020 ALDS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher T.J. McFarland (38) pitches against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning during game four of the 2020 ALDS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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T.J. McFarland only spent one year with the Oakland A’s, turning in a relatively pedestrian year in 2020. As a ground ball specialist, he is not the type of pitcher who strikes out many batters, instead relying on his control and defense to generate outs.

That profile did not generate much interest this offseason, as McFarland settled for a minor league deal with the Nationals. As he was not a part of their major league plans, McFarland was allowed out from his contract on Wednesday, quickly signing a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

T.J. McFarland finds another home

McFarland was a bit disappointing for the A’s last season. He appeared in 23 games spanning 20.2 innings, posting a 4.35 ERA and a 1.500 WHiP. While he only issued five walks, McFarland also allowed five homers and struck out only nine batters. With that production, it was not a surprise that he was unable to generate much interest for the 2021 season.

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However, he has generally been a solid pitcher over his time in the majors. The eight year veteran has posted a 4.08 ERA and a 1.489 WHiP over his 401 innings, striking out 240 batters with 133 walks. He may not be an option in a higher leverage situation, but he is a solid middle reliever, capable of providing decent innings in relative anonymity.

The Cardinals could certainly use another solid option in the bullpen. The bullpen has struggled this season, a major part of why St. Louis has disappointed. If the Cardinals are going to come back in the race for the NL Central, they will need to find pieces to help in the bullpen.

If McFarland is on, he can be that type of pitcher. His ground ball tendencies should play up with a solid infield defense behind him. He could be a key part of the relief corps, getting that double play when needed to get St. Louis out of a difficult situation could make a difference.

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T.J. McFarland has found a new home with the St. Louis Cardinals. Even though his time in Oakland was a disappointment, he could be a useful option.

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