The Red Sox to meet with Bobby Valentine on Monday

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Today, Jeff Passan reports:

Bobby Valentine expects to meet with Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on Monday. Could emerge as favorite for manager if meeting goes well.

Interesting, because the other day the Boston Herald wrote:

Bobby Valentine has been a candidate for the Red Sox manager job from the early stages of the team’s search process, a club source said yesterday. Valentine was one of the first people interviewed by general manager Ben Cherington

Hmm. Interesting that Valentine’s candidacy depends on a good meeting with Cherington when he already interviewed with Cherington.

Or — and call me crazy — someone in the Sox front office was pulling the Herald’s chain the other day and was trying to make it look as though ownership didn’t totally undercut Cherington by injecting Valentine into the situation when Cherington was interviewing a totally different sort of candidate slate.

Insane. I know.

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.