Over the last decade, Danny Farquhar has gone from the star on a Ft. Lauderdale high school baseball team in which according to him, “nobody else had to show up,” to a key cog in a Seattle Mariners bullpen that includes a bartender from Tucson (Tom Wilhelmsen) and the Dominican version of Robin Hood (Fernando Rodney).
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Farquhar out of college in 2010, but since then, many teams played hot potato with his career. He made his MLB debut in September of 2011 after being traded to and back from the Oakland Athletics that same year.
He then spent the 2012 season with three different Major League organizations and five different minor league teams, ending with Farquhar being traded from the New York Yankees to the Seattle Mariners for Ichiro Suzuki.
“It sucked,” he said about the 2012 journey. “The worst was probably going from Double-A to Triple-A with the Yankees because we’re in Binghamton, NY, my wife was with me, she drove down to Pennsylvania to our apartment where we just moved into, and then right after the game they called me up to Rochester. So she had to drive down (seven hour drive), unpacks the car, I call her up and say ‘hey repack the car,’ she comes pick me up and we finish the drive. It was terrible.”
The only good thing that came from traveling from team to team was the further education of the anatomy of the bullpen. It’s a segment of the team that is separated from the rest of the players during the games, so they themselves become different from the rest of the pack.
“There’s different quirks, different personalities and different little games,” Farquhar said. Games like the one that doesn’t take kindly to idioms.
“In a couple bullpens we played ‘back it up’,” he said. “If you said something, and someone called you on ‘back it up,’ you had to do it or there was punishments. It’s freaking awesome.”
Awesome until he one time became the victim of the game and had to eat a raw egg, which was “tough to go down”.
A lot of players in Farquhar’s position would’ve likely quit baseball and pursued a more stable regular job, some even in easier positions.
“Those are big softies that can’t handle a little adversity,” Farquhar said. Certain things get thrown at you and you can either quit or play better and deal with it.”
Farquhar went through the minors and emerged last season with 79 strikeouts in 55.2 innings and 16 saves in 20 opportunities as the Mariners closer.
“I guess it worked out for the Mariners. I turned out to be alright.”
Even with the signing of star closer Fernando Rodney, Farquhar remains one of the top relievers of a unit that Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon considers to be “the backbone of our club”. The M’s are contending and Farquhar is part of the reason why.