MLB Trade Rumors has been reverse-engineering the free agent ranking system all season, providing regular updates on Type A and Type B players, and now they’ve gotten their hands on the official rankings from Elias Sports Bureau.
No big surprises, although as usual there are some head-scratchers.
I wrote last offseason about how the compensation system always overrates relievers and sure enough guys like Darren Oliver, Matt Capps, and Octavio Dotel qualify as Type A while vastly superior players like Aramis Ramirez and Mark Buehrle are Type B.
CC Sabathia and Albert Pujols lead a total of 25 players qualified for Type A status, which means if their old teams offers them arbitration and the players decline any team signing them would have to forfeit next year’s first-round pick (or second-round pick, if their first-rounder is among the top 15 selections).
Type B free agents can be signed without losing a draft pick, but will fetch a supplemental first-rounder for their old team (assuming arbitration is offered and declined first).
To see the whole list, check out MLB Trade Rumors.
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.