Don Wakamatsu “floated” as possibility for Red Sox manager

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We’re going to hear all sorts of rampant speculation about potential candidates for the Red Sox manager vacancy over the next few days, so don’t take this too seriously, but Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle hears that current Blue Jays bench coach and former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has been “floated” as a possibility for the job in Boston.

Wakamatsu led the Mariners to a 127-147 record before being fired last August. He was highly praised during his first season in 2009, in which the Mariners won 85 games, but the team underperformed during his second year and the clubhouse turned on him, mostly related to the messy Ken Griffey Jr. situation. The Red Sox reportedly had some issues in their clubhouse down the stretch, so Wakamatsu’s history could work against him there.

Keep in mind that this is all speculation, but Buster Olney of ESPN.com named Giants manager Bruce Bochy, Mariners manager Eric Wedge, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Bobby Valentine as possibilities this morning. In fact, Olney hears that Valentine “has support in at least one important corner of the Boston front office.” It’s still very early in the process and this dynamic could change if Theo Epstein bolts for the Cubs’ GM job, but if I had to peg an early favorite, it would have to be Valentine.

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.