The Yankees are checking out Kevin Millwood

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Andruw Jones and Kevin Millwood, huh? Apparently “key players from the team you beat in the World Series 12 years ago” is the new inefficiency!

The Yankees among the teams looking at Kevin Millwood as a back-end starter and have also looked at Freddy Garcia.

We talked about Garcia yesterday. Millwood got lit up like a Christmas tree last year. Over the course of his career he gives up slightly fewer homers than Garcia has and is a bit more likely to strike a guy out once in a while. That said, there isn’t a world of difference between Millwood and Garcia at this point. The biggest difference is that Millwood has consistently taken the ball every fifth day for close to a decade while Garcia has only had one season in the last four — last season — in which he pitched as many as 150 innings.

Either of these guys are likely to be able to eat innings for the Yankees in 2011, but Millwood maybe a bit more so. To the extent that one can expect any quality upside to either of them, it’s probably worth noting that Millwood is one year removed from a really nice season down in Texas. That seems to be a bit flukey, though, inasmuch as his 2010 looks a heck of a lot like his 2007 and 2008.

I’d probably go with Millwood over Garcia if I had to choose, but it’s not like either of them — or the differences between them — will make or break the Yankees 2011 season.

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.