Mets sign lefty TJ McFarland to a minor league deal, according to his transaction tracker for MLB.com. McFarland is assigned to Triple-A Syracuse for now, but he could be invited to major league spring training.
McFarland, 34 as of June, has pitched in every MLB season of the past decade, spending time with the Orioles, Diamondbacks, A’s and Cardinals. Although he doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts, he generally thrives on avoiding walks and keeping the ball on the ground. In his career, the strikeout rate for hitters is only 13.5%, just half the normal league average of his 23.6% for relief pitchers in 2022. average.
A grounder-heavy approach is certainly a recipe for success, but it can also leave pitchers vulnerable to the Wheel of Fortune. With the 2021 Cardinals, McFarland posted his 2.56 ERA, a rate stat similar to his career figures. In 2022, his grounder rate on the cards again dropped to 53% from 63.7% the year before. His ball batting average also jumped from .261 to .333 and his strand percentage went from 81.5 to 60.4 percent. This made his ERA more than double his 6.61.
For the Mets, they’re trying to piece together the bullpen heading into 2023. Edwin Diaz, Adam Ottavino, Seth Lugo, Trevor May, Trevor Williams, Joely Rodriguez When Michael Givens All are free agents after 2022. Diaz and Ottavino have since been re-signed, but Brooks Rayleigh and signed David RobertsonWhen it comes to lefties, Joey Lucchesi When David Peterson Raley and Taylor Saucedo As a major southpaw relief. The addition of McFarland gives the veteran depth without running out of roster spots for now.