The new Madoff-Wilpon judge makes the Mets’ prospects look a whole lot brighter

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I missed this in all of the McCourt crap last week — I really do only have so much brain space for legal/financial baseball news — but the case against the Wilpons and Saul Katz was moved from bankruptcy court into regular old court court, which was what Wilpon and Katz had wanted.

And better yet, the judge handling it all, The Hon. Jed Rakoff, said a number of things from the bench suggesting — and it’s only suggesting — that he may view the Wilpons’ duty to inquire into whether Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme to be far less encompassing than the bankruptcy trustee, Irving Picard, has suggested.

Today there is a profile on the new judge in the New York Times — a maverick of sorts — that may hold even more good news for the Mets:

“I can’t guarantee this, of course, but my tendency is to try to get quick decisions,” he said during a hearing last week in which he evinced, at least for the purposes of the legal argument before him, a fair amount of sympathy toward the team’s owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz …  He suggested that in accusing the owners of being “willfully blind” to the possibility that Madoff was a fraud during their many years of investing with him, the trustee might be holding them to an unfair standard.

Quick and favorable? Boy howdy, would that change things for the Mets, wouldn’t it?

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.