Given that the Red Sox are reportedly making another pass at Jason Bay (or Matt Holliday) despite having the outfield seemingly covered with Ellsbury, Drew and Cameron, what does it tell you about their confidence that David Ortiz will be a productive part of the lineup next year? Last season when Big Papi took his giant swoon, they had no one else around, so they had to keep running him out there. Could having Bay or Holliday in the fold mean that they’d rather have one of them — or J.D. Drew — DHing? Whatever the case, I wouldn’t necessarily bet my pension on Ortiz returning to All-Star form, so maybe getting another bat makes sense.
Obligatory alternative theory for Red Sox fanboys: getting Holliday or Bay would free up Ellsbury to be dealt to San Diego as part of a package for Adrian Gonzalez. No, I do not think that will happen, but one of the first comments would likely suggest it, and I wanted to preempt it.
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.