Well, I’m sure he’s fine, but he watched as two of his marks were surpassed on Saturday.
First, David Ortiz set the major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter, passing Martinez’s mark of 1,003. Then, later that night, Ichiro Suzuki broke Edgar Martinez’s franchise record for career hits, notching his 2,248th hit in a Mariners uniform.
Both were a foregone conclusion, of course, but the Ortiz mark is one that probably has more significance from a legacy perspective for Martinez. His Hall of Fame case has been premised on the notion that he is the best DH ever. I still think that’s the case, but if Ortiz doesn’t slow down, he’ll likely take that title, either on the merits or in the popular consciousness. Given that Martinez’s Hall of Fame vote was surprisingly anemic in his first year on the ballot — 32.9% — methinks it bodes ill for his future chances.
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.