Tyler Flowers wants to start … if they let him

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My favorite catcher is now Tyler Flowers of the Chicago White Sox, simply because he has the guts to say he’s ready to be the starter, never mind that A.J. Pierzynski fellow.

From MLB.com:

“When I look at the whole offseason, I’m preparing myself to be the starting catcher for the White Sox,” said Flowers, during a phone interview from his home in Atlanta. “When the White Sox tell me I’m not starting, then I’ll prepare to be the backup. And if I’m not the backup, then I’ll prepare myself to be back in Charlotte.”

OK so he’s kind of kidding around. But I think that’s an even better reason to like him. Baseball could use a little more happy-go-lucky banter, and a little less of the “I’m-just-happy-to-help-the-ballclub” platitudes. In fact, I would be signing up to be president of his fan club if he had said this: “And if I’m not in Charlotte, I’ll prepare myself to sell Lady Kenmores at Sears.”

He didn’t, but I’ll cut him some slack. After all, he was two years old when “Bull Durham” came out.

Flowers, who came to Chicago from Atlanta in the Javier Vazquez trade in Dec. 2008, did go on to stump for some time at DH in the upcoming season, joking that if Pierzynski got hurt, one-time catching prospect Paul Konerko could move behind the dish. Sounds like Flowers could be a nice foil for Ozzie Guillen, only perhaps without all the profanity.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks.

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.