Continuing their offseason plan of stockpiling mediocre veterans, the Pirates have agreed to terms with first baseman Lyle Overbay on a one-year, $5 million contract.
Overbay spent the past five seasons in Toronto, but the Blue Jays made no attempt to re-sign the 33-year-old after he hit just .243 with a .329 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage in 154 games this year.
He has a sub-.800 OPS in three of the past four seasons, has slugged above .500 just once in his career, and has the third-lowest OPS among the 19 first basemen to receive at least 1,500 plate appearances since 2008.
Overbay starting at first base likely means Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz will platoon in one outfield corner, with Jose Tabata playing every day in the other corner. Pittsburgh was already said to be aggressively shopping catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit following the Diaz signing, so with the addition of Overbay pushing Jones to the outfield full time trading Doumit now seems even more likely.
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.