Jerry Crasnick reports that the Nationals, fresh off of signing Jason Marquis, are making a push to sign Pirates’ castoff Matt Capps.
I’ve written way too much about Matt Capps in the last eight days. The point wasn’t that Matt Capps was something special, but that his situation wasn’t handled all that well by the Pirates, more in terms of their own interests than in terms of respect due Matt Capps of what have you. Still, Capps’ agent has no complaints along those lines with the Nats, going so far as to tell Crasnick that “Mike Rizzo has done an unbelievable job” and has “impressed Matt.” Many Nats players also go on record saying they want Capps in a Nats’ uniform.
Capps reportedly had mucho interest in the past week, so there may be other teams in on him. He’s expected to make his choice within the next two days, Crasnick reports.
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.