I sat for two (virtual) interviews over the weekend. The first one was short: Six “Batting Practice Fastballs” from Scott Simkus, the awesome brain behind the Negro Leagues Strat-o-Matic card set. Nothing as heady as that here. I mostly talk about my pajamas and the type of booze baseball writers drink.
A much longer and meatier interview was had with Russ Smith at “Splice Today.” We talk about Jason Bay and the Granderson trade and whether Billy Beane suddenly got dumb since “Moneyball” came out. Oh, and there’s a bit on Obama too, which shouldn’t be controversial in any way whatsoever.
To be clear: my linking these things has nothing to do with ego. I simply worry that you people don’t have access to enough of my opinions here and I don’t want you to run short.
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.