The Phillies “will do whatever it takes” at the trade deadline

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The Phillies payroll is at $175 million, and it’s bumping right up against the luxury tax threshold. In light of that, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had said back in June that “you will not see a major move this year.”

That position would appear to be no longer operative.  Sure, Ruben Amaro is still mum because he’s a ninja, he’s a hoodie ninja,* but team president Dave Montgomery tells the Philly Inquirer that there aren’t any constraints:

“We do whatever it takes,” team president David Montgomery told The Inquirer. “If there’s an opportunity, we’ll make adjustments.”

That suggests to me — as it suggested to the article’s authors, Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover — that the Phillies aren’t terribly concerned about the luxury tax. At the very least, “we do whatever it takes” is much different than “you will not see a major move this year.”

*Downside of going to the movies this weekend: saw that Honda Civic SI commercial twice and can’t get that friggin’ song out of my head.

(thanks to Jonny5 for the link)

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.