Justin Duchscherer missed all of 2009 and most of 2010 following hip and elbow surgeries, but the oft-injured right-hander told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that he’s “pretty much 100 percent” healthy.
According to Ghiroli he’s held private workouts for at least five teams, and at various points this offseason Duchscherer has been linked to the Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles.
All but 32 of his 224 career appearances have come out of the bullpen, but Duchscherer made it very clear that he’s not interested in relieving, saying: “I just don’t feel like, with the injuries I’ve had, that would be beneficial for my career. For me it’s black and white. I want to start, that’s the whole mind-set I have.”
Which is odd, because in most cases injured pitchers are encouraged to become relievers in an effort to stay healthier. If healthy Ducscherer could prove to be a very nice low-cost pickup, as he’s posted a 3.13 ERA in 455 career innings, but he’s 33 years old and has logged more than 60 innings in a season just once in the past five years.
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.