Ernie Harwell to receive lifetime achievement award

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Got a press release a few minutes ago announcing that Ernie Harwell is going to receive the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting. The award is given out annually by WFUV, the public radio station at Fordham University where Scully got his start.  The award will be given at the station’s Spring Gala on May 5th.

Two observations, the first from Pouliot, with whom I was just chatting with a moment ago, which is that given their commensurate stature, the award’s namesake and recipient could have been reversed and it would have made just as much sense.

The second, somewhat morbid observation: despite the fact that he likely wouldn’t travel to New York to accept it in person anyway, I sure hope Harwell’s health holds up so that this award is not a posthumous one.  Based on reports from last September, Ernie is already beating the odds, but I’d like to see him beat them just a bit longer.

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.