Jack McKeon wants Mike Stanton to steal 30 bases for some reason

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Not satisfied with Mike Stanton being perhaps the best young slugger in baseball, Marlins manager Jack McKeon wants him stealing bases now too:

He needs a little polish on the bases. But that’s because he has not had that much experience. I gave him the steal sign one night a while back and he stood there standing up. I was like, “Get in position to steal.” All of a sudden, boom! He steals it easy. This guy has so much explosive speed. His first step, you can’t believe.

I told him, “You can be a 30/30 guy, easy.” I’ve just got to sell him on the idea that this is what you’ve got to do.

I realize McKeon can do no wrong right now, but when it comes to Stanton why exactly is that “what you’ve got to do”?

For one thing, a very athletic 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds is still 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, which makes attempting 30-plus steals per season an injury waiting to happen. For another thing, Stanton has eight steals in 189 games for the Marlins and he’s been thrown out four times. He also never ran much in the minors, stealing a grand total of eight bases in 324 games.

I’m all for young players becoming more well-rounded and certainly Stanton becoming a better, more efficient base-stealer could benefit the Marlins, but asking a 21-year-old, 6-foot-5 slugger to do something he’s never done before is a whole lot of risk for not much payoff. He’s much better off being a 40/5 guy than trying to join the 30/30 club.

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.