Jeff Francoeur says Mets are "110 percent" behind Jerry Manuel

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Francoeur Mets.jpegAccording to MetsBlog, last night on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, host Seth Everett said Jeff Francoeur, John Maine, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana were unhappy with manager Jerry Manuel. This forced Francoeur to issue a denial before Saturday’s game against the Cardinals, via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

“We’re 10 games into the season. We’ve lost a lot of close games,”
Francoeur said. “We’re behind Jerry 110 percent. Are you always going to
agree with everything a manager does? No. Nobody does. At the same
time, he’s our manager. He’s a guy that has fought for us, stuck up for
us through a tough offseason, through this time. We’re here for him at
this point to stick behind him because he’s the guy we want leading us
out there.”

I hope Francoeur learns his lesson here. Earlier in the week he told reporters that he would like to see Jose Reyes remain as the leadoff man as opposed to batting third. It’s a reasonable opinion to have, but he should have had the presence of mind to realize that the press would run with the story, positioning it as though he was questioning his manager’s authority. It’s really a frivolous storyline when there are many other aspects of Manuel’s decision-making that are fair-game for criticism.

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.