Red Sox ink Embree to minor league deal

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Rob Bradford of Boston-based WEEI.com passes along word that the Red Sox have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with reliever Alan Embree.  The veteran left-hander posted a 5.84 ERA, a 12/12 K/BB ratio and a 1.62 WHIP in 36 appearances last season for the Rockies before fracturing his tibia in mid-July.  He should be fully recovered by now, but he’s a longshot to make Boston’s Opening Day roster.  Embree, who turned 40 in late January, is the owner of a 4.59 career ERA and 1.34 career WHIP over 16 seasons.

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.