Quote of the Day: L.A. Times reporter on Kemp, Stewart

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T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times published an incredibly revealing article on Saturday night about the relationship between the Dodgers, their fans, Matt Kemp and agent Dave Stewart.

In it you’ll find Stewart as an overbearing and overly self-conscious agent and Kemp as a talented but confused 25-year-old.  Simers’ headline says it best: “Matt Kemp’s agent is an albatross around his neck.”  And here’s your quote of the day:

“Do you think for one moment I care about the town of L.A. or the fans there?” Stewart wrote in an e-mail.  [Kemp is] going to be a great major league player.  It
doesn’t have to be [in L.A.]. …The big picture is he doesn’t have to
play [in L.A.]. There are 29 teams out there.”

That kind of talk is fine for an impending free agent, but Kemp is under contract with the Dodgers for at least two more seasons.  Given the outfielder’s age and extraordinary level of talent, any sort of trade would be of the blockbuster variety.  And we don’t see many of those these days.

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.