Oakland Athletics acquire LHP TJ McFarland from Los Angeles Dodgers

The Oakland Athletics have acquired reliver TJ McFarland from the Los Angeles Dodgers
Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics have acquired left handed reliever TJ McFarland from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations. McFarland previously pitched for the Athletics back in 2020.

A fourth round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians back in 2007, McFarland has had an 11 year major league career. He signed with the Mets ahead of the 2023 season and spent the majority of his time there pitching in Triple-A.

He did get into 3 games with the Mets before getting released and picked up by the Orioles, though he spent the rest of the year back at Triple-A.

McFarland signed a contract with the Dodgers heading into 2024 and was in camp with them until recently. He'd pitched to a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings across 7 appearances this spring, though he was not on the 40-man and his path to playing time in LA would have been challenging.

Athletics add McFarland to 40-man, will start the year in Oakland

In McFarland, the A's are getting a pitcher with a career 4.14 ERA and a 4.20 FIP. He's never been a power pitcher, throwing a four-seam fastball that tops out in the low 90's but sits a bit lower than that. He has a career strikeout rate of 13.5%, well below league average.

He fits a need for the A's, however. With the recent news that Sean Newcomb will start the season on the IL, the A's were down to just Kyle Muller for left handed options. Free agent acquisition Scott Alexander had already gone down to a rib injury and the A's just don't have the minor league depth to replace them.

McFarland will work in low leverage situations to start the year and will give the A's a second left handed option to work in relief. He doesn't come with high expectations but he has been consistently good enough to stick around for over a decade.

His job won't be immediately threatened by anyone, at least until Newcomb and Alexander return. After that, the A's will have a decision to make but will also have likely a couple months worth of information about the rest of the bullpen as well.

It's possible McFarland sticks around for the full year but a lot of question marks remain. It's not the bullpen the A's thought they'd head into the year with but they'll have to make do with what they've got.