After whiffing on top targets, A’s shift focus to Hideki Matsui

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Oakland left the winter meetings empty handed despite several attempts to make a big splash, which has Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle thinking that the A’s will turn their attention to signing Hideki Matsui.

Matsui’s agent, Arn Tellem, told Slusser that he expects to begin fielding offers over the weekend and indicated that Matsui might be ready to sign as soon as early next week.

Whether or not it’ll be with Oakland is unclear, but Matsui has expressed an interest in remaining on the West Coast following a one-year stint with the Angels and the A’s have been linked to him since missing out on their No. 1 designated hitter target, Lance Berkman.

Matsui signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Angels last winter and hit .274/.361/.459 with 21 homers and 84 RBIs in 145 games as their primary DH.

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.