GM: Brewers unlikely to trade Fielder or Braun for pitching

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Asked yesterday whether the Brewers will look to trade Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun for pitching help, general manager Doug Melvin said: “I don’t see that happening.”
Milwaukee finished next-to-last in the NL with a 4.87 ERA, including a league-worst 5.37 mark from the rotation that lost CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets from 2008, but Melvin smartly seems to realize that trading MVP-caliber hitters isn’t the solution for those problems, especially when Fielder is under team control through 2011 and Braun is signed through 2015.

In fantasy baseball, you can dream about what you could get back for Prince or Ryan Braun. In reality, there’s not too many teams that can give up the package that we would really want that would guarantee you to be competitive.

Melvin also added that keeping both Alcides Escobar and J.J. Hardy next season “would be very difficult,” which makes it pretty obvious that the Brewers will be shopping Hardy for pitching help this offseason. Hardy had a very disappointing year, losing his starting job to Escobar down the stretch, but he’s still a 26-year-old shortstop with a good glove and .267/.325/.441 hitting line over the past three seasons. Milwaukee should be able to get at least a solid mid-rotation starter for Hardy.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.