McFarland Returning to Cardinals Bullpen for 2022

photo: T.J. McFarland (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Monday, November 8) that they have agreed to terms with free agent left-handed relief pitcher T. J. McFarland on a one-year contract for the upcoming 2022 season. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

T.J. McFarland

The 32-year old McFarland, who signed with the Cardinals organization last season on July 1 and joined St. Louis on July 16, went 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA (38.2 IP) and 21 strikeouts in 38 appearances. The left-hander induced 12 double plays to establish a new Cardinals reliever record after the All-Star Break (since 1974), which tied for most double plays among Major League relievers throughout the duration of last season.

The Palos Park, Ill. native has made 323 career appearances between Baltimore (2013-16), Arizona (2017-19), Oakland (2020), and St. Louis (2021) over his nine-year Major League career.

McFarland’s career 63.4 ground ball percentage ranks 6th-highest among relievers since 1987, and trails only Zack Britton (76.5) among active relievers. His career 1.38 GIDP/9 IP ranks 6th-highest among relievers since 1974, and ties Brandon Kintzler for highest among active relievers.

Brian Walton’s take

This move is good and swift. Coupled with another castoff brought in during the season who is also now a free agent, Luis Garcia, the two became the most reliable pen options in the second half after the former big three of Alex Reyes, Genesis Cabrera and Giovanny Gallego began to show signs of wear.

McFarland spent the first half of 2021 with the Washington Nationals in Triple-A up to his June 29 release.

In 2022, McFarland will receive $2.5 million plus $500,000 in incentives, per national reporter Jon Heyman. Prior to this, his highest annual salary was $1.8 million with Oakland.

The Cardinals now have 32 players on the 40-man roster, plus three spots will be taken when pitchers Junior Fernandez, Ljay Newsome and Ryan Helsley are required to come off the 60-day injured list.

For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

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