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)
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.