Agent: Roy Oswalt “is definitely not retiring”

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Roy Oswalt has talked about an early retirement in the past, but yesterday agent Bob Garber told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that the 34-year-old right-hander is no longer thinking about calling it quits:

There’s been a rebirth. There’s been talk in the past about retiring, but that’s not even in the cards at this point. It’s a different Roy. It’s a different feeling for him right now. He’s enjoying the game right now like he used to when he was younger. He’s definitely not retiring.

This has arguably been the worst season of Oswalt’s career, as he’s thrown just 133 innings after logging at least 180 every year since 2004 and has a 3.86 ERA that’s his second-highest. On the other hand, Zolecki notes that Oswalt “is feeling healthy after an ailing back sidelined him” and “has been rejuvenated pitching for the first-place Phillies.”

He’ll be Philadelphia’s fourth starter during the playoffs, which means his role may be minimal, and Zolecki expects the Phillies to decline their $16 million option on Oswalt for 2012. Since coming to the Phillies in the middle of last season Oswalt has thrown 216 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 162/53 K/BB ratio, so when the back isn’t barking he’s still a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson are also impending free agents, so Oswalt’s desire to remain in Philadelphia may be tested if he’s looking for a big payday.

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.