By Jason Wojciechowski on June 11, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Danny Farquhar has been drafted, traded twice, and waived/claimed. He has played for two teams. It's not a typical career path, but if you're the 25-year-old fringe reliever, you take what you can get. What he can get at the moment is being a member of the A's for the second time and pitching in Sacramento.
Farquhar was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on June 2nd so that they could claim Chris Schwinden from the Mets, who was himself waived to clear room for Elvin Ramirez to come to the majors. (Waiver trees are almost as much fun as trade trees. Maybe more fun.)
Farquhar was actually pitching in AA New Hampshire for the Jays despite spending 2011 in AAA and throwing rather well considering the offensive environment. (His 5.16 FRA (Baseball Prospectus's pitcher value stat -- it's scaled to RA/9, rather than ERA, so mentally adjust your expectations upward a bit in terms of what's considered average) was actually 8% better than average considering the context he was pitching in because that context was Las Vegas, a place where hitters and Midwestern douche-bags alike go to flourish.) Perhaps this was like the Brett Cecil situation, where you send a player you like to a park/league where he won't be mentally scarred and/or get into bad pitching habits because. Or maybe they just didn't want to send Jerry Gil to AA. Who knows.
Either way, Farquhar was striking out over a batter per inning in the Eastern League, and the tiny amount of PITCHf/x data we have on him (about 230 pitches) suggests that he has an assortment of pitches in his arsenal and solid velocity (93 mph fastball). The Brooks Baseball similarity algorithm (which, I'll be honest, is really quite rough and possibly useless, but who knows) says that he's got similar pitches to Brandon Morrow, who is a successful major-league pitcher. (Of course, because PITCHf/x data doesn't come from all the minor-league parks as well as the major-league ones, we're only comparing Farquhar to major-league pitchers in the first place. Still, it's better than if the algorithm had spat out Joe Saunders or something.)
All of which is to say that with Andrew Carignan going under for Tommy John surgery, thus allowing the A's to put him on the 60-day disabled list and create a 40-man roster spot, this seems like a worthwhile waiver claim gamble. Great players don't get cut very often, but guys who can be useful in certain spots for some amount of time get cut with some frequency. Farquhar has options, too, so there's really no downside. It's not like you can't send him right back to Toronto if something shinier comes along.