The Brewers talking to Prince Fielder already

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UPDATE: Tom Haudricort confirms that the Brewers met with Boras yesterday to talk about a Fielder extension. No offer was made, but the fact that they’re even talking now is unusual for a high-profile Boras client.

5:15 P.M.: Brewers’ beat writer Adam McCalvy noted some strange behavior by the Milwaukee brass (Milwaukee brass?) today:

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash
returned to camp on Thursday after an absence all day Wednesday. Asked
specifically whether it had anything to do with Fielder, Melvin said
only “we took a little trip.” Asked where that trip took him, Melvin said again: “We took a little trip.”

Ash wouldn’t dish, either, joking to a reporter that, “we don’t have to tell you guys everything.”

McCalvy speculates that they were off meeting Scott Boras at some undisclosed location to discuss Prince Fielder’s contract. I suppose that’s entirely possible. It’s also entirely possible that they all just “took a little trip” to the ladies room to powder their noses.

At least that’s the rumor I’m going to start spreading unless someone in the know gives me the dirt on what would be an unprecedentedly early contract negotiation for a Scott Boras client.

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.