In reporting on ESPN removing Joe Morgan and Jon Miller from the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth after two decades Richard Sandomir of the New York Times wrote that Dan Shulman was likely to replace Miller as the play-by-play announcer.
SI.com media writer Richard Deitsch just tweeted that the move to Shulman is now all but official, although there’s no word yet on the speculation about Miller being asked to remain with ESPN as a radio announcer.
Orel Hershiser is expected to replace Morgan as the lead analyst and it’s possible that ESPN could look to keep a three-man booth that it had for the past two seasons, but reading between the lines it seems like the expanded booth was done mostly to provide an alternative voice to Morgan and isn’t likely to continue.
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.