As expected, John McLaren has officially been named the Nationals’ interim manager following Jim Riggleman’s resignation yesterday, but apparently he’s not long for the job either.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that McLaren will manage the team this weekend but “general manager Mike Rizzo is expected to name another interim manager by Monday.”
Most of the speculation so far has centered on Davey Johnson ultimately getting the full-time job. Johnson managed the Mets to a World Series win in 1986 and has a .564 winning percentage in 14 total seasons for the Mets, Orioles, Reds, and Dodgers.
Johnson is currently working in the Nationals’ front office, but hasn’t managed since going 86-76 with the Dodgers in 2000 and is 68 years old.
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.