Are the Cubs and Yankees potential trade partners?

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The Cubs need a centerfielder. The Yankees arguably have an excess of centerfielders in Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson. I say “arguably” because as things currently stand one of those dudes has to play left. But the Yankees may or may not be done making moves this winter, they may still yet bring Johnny Damon back and they may yet emerge as a Matt Holliday suitor, so things are a bit fluid.

What this all means is some talk from Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News that the Yankees could ship either Cabrera or Gardner to Chicago for a pitcher.  There’s not a ton to this — it’s all really based on FOX’s report that the Cubs have not, contrary to earlier reports, settled on Marlon Byrd, and are looking at other options.  There’s a single line in the New York Post today saying that the Yankees have asked about Carlos Zambrano, but it doesn’t sound like (a) it was a really serious effort; or (b) that it is going anywhere.

But does it make any sense?  I’d say sure, if the Yankees do decide to re-engage with Damon or move on Holliday that they may want to get something for one of their younger outfielders, but nothing that the Cubs could offer them in the way of pitching would seem to make it worthwhile.

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.