Andrew Bailey has been sidelined since mid-March with a strained forearm, but the Oakland closer told Jane Lee of MLB.com that “there’s really no timetable” for his return.
Bailey threw a 25-pitch bullpen session yesterday, but hasn’t progressed to mixing in off-speed pitches yet and said afterward that “we’re just going as we feel.”
Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour have been splitting closing duties in Bailey’s absence and the A’s bullpen is one of the few in baseball deep enough to withstand losing a pitcher with a 1.70 ERA and 133/37 K/BB ratio in 132 innings through his first two seasons.
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.