More important World Series business: National Anthem singers

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The Rangers are blowin’ a great chance to have Hayes Carll or Ray Wylie Hubbard sing the National Anthem before one of their games, but nobody asked me:

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that soul singer John Legend will perform the national anthem on Wednesday at Game 1 of the series between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers. Country trio Lady Antebellum is set to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Thursday at Game 2. Games 1 and 2 will take place in San Francisco. On Saturday at Game 3 in Arlington, Texas, pop singer and former “American Idol” champion Kelly Clarkson will sing the anthem. Texas is her home state.

And, for that matter, the Giants are whiffing by not having Huey Lewis or Journey.

Maybe we’ll be surprised with an arena rock version of “God Bless America.”

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.