TODAY: The Orioles have officially released McFarland, as per a team announcement. The southpaw cleared release waivers and can now be signed by any club.
McFarland, 27, posted a 6.93 ERA over 24 2/3 relief innings for the Orioles last season, despite recording a 60.2% grounder rate. Always an extreme groundball pitcher who didn’t miss many bats (a 60.7% career GBR, 5.67 career K/9), McFarland recorded just seven strikeouts in 2016, and issued more walks (10) than strikeouts.
McFarland avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $685K deal with the O’s for the coming season, and he still has two remaining years of arb-eligibility. The lefty is also out of options, and CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff speculates that McFarland is likely to pass through waivers and potentially stay with the Orioles, if no longer on the 40-man roster. Though any number of teams are looking to add left-handed relief options, McFarland has only solid numbers (.280/.326/.395) against left-handed hitters over his career, so clubs may look for southpaws with more extreme splits.