Daniel Bard wouldn’t mind starting one day

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Rob Bradford caught up with Daniel Bard in Fort Meyers yesterday and the subject of the young man’s role came up:

“How do you view yourself, as a reliever or a starter?”

“I see myself as a pitcher,” he responded without hesitation following his Thursday workout at the Red Sox minor-league training facility … Bard, a starter in college and throughout his first professional season, likes the idea of perhaps re-entering the world of a starting rotation somewhere down the line.

“I kind of would like to try it. It’s something I would like to do,” said Bard of starting again. “It would kind of challenge myself. You’ve never proven yourself, but I know I can do the reliever thing for myself, just as a personal challenge, [starting] would be cool.”

Some talent evaluator scouty type like Keith Law or Kevin Goldstein recently said on Twitter that Bard is decidedly not cut out to return to starting.  I searched around for the discussion but I couldn’t find it, so I’m not sure what the basis was for the assessment.

My sense, though, is that if there is a team who would give a guy every reasonable opportunity to start before making a him into a reliever, it’s the Red Sox.  That they have no problem with his current role and have shown no indication to want to change it suggests to me that, no, Bard doesn’t profile at all well as a starter.

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.