"We know he has a knack for winning games, and hopefully that knack will translate to the Major Leagues," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "We had targeted a couple left-handed pitchers in the Draft. We wanted to get another left-handed pitcher into our system, and this was a cost-effective way to accomplish that."
McFarland was selected 23rd in the Rule 5 Draft and was the Tribe's fourth-round pick out of Amos Alonso Stagg High School in Palos Hills, Ill., in the fourth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, McFarland went 8-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 17 starts at Columbus, allowing 55 earned runs on 112 hits and 33 walks in 102 2/3 innings pitched.
The southpaw started the season with Double-A Akron, going 8-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts, including a complete-game effort, before being promoted. McFarland, 23, was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the period ending May 21.
"He pitched very well the last month of the season and he pitched a fine game against the Norfolk team where he beat our [Triple-A] ballclub down there," Duquette said. "He's got a good sinker, he keeps the ball down, he's got a good changeup and he throws strikes in the bottom of the strike zone. And we like him as a qualified Major Leaguer."
McFarland's selection marks the second time in as many years the Orioles have taken a player in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft under Duquette. The O's selected infielder Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs last winter and were able to keep him on their roster the entire season, ensuring the Maine native is now a part of Baltimore's organization.
During the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, an eligible player left unprotected from his club's 40-man roster may be selected for $50,000. He must then remain on his drafting team's active Major League roster during the following season or be offered back to his original club for $25,000.
The move leaves the Orioles' 40-man roster with one open spot, although that will be taken once outfielder Nate McLouth passes a physical and is officially added.
In the Triple-A portion, the Orioles selected right-handed pitcher Tom Boleska from Twins' Double-A affiliate in New Britain, Conn. The 26-year-old, who is from Canada, spent last season playing for the independent league's Fargo-Moorhead club and was signed by Minnesota earlier this winter.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.