Mike Hampton came back from his latest arm surgery to make 10 appearances as a left-handed specialist for the Diamondbacks in September and today Arizona re-signed him to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Hampton “will compete for a job coming out of the bullpen” at age 38, after undergoing surgery to repair labrum and rotator cuff damage in his shoulder about 14 months ago.
Hampton hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since way back in 2004, throwing a grand total of 264 innings in the six years since then.
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.