Nationals seen as favorite for left-hander C.J. Wilson

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The Nationals made a big splash at last December’s Winter Meetings, signing outfielder Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million contract. Might they be preparing a similar-style plunge at this year’s event?

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, other teams are viewing the Nationals as the current favorite to land free agent left-handed starter C.J. Wilson.

Wilson, 31, posted a stellar 2.94 ERA and 206/74 K/BB ratio in 223 1/3 innings this past season for the Rangers. He was a dominant reliever, and he’s now turned himself into a top-of-the-line rotation arm.

The Marlins, Angels and Red Sox are also thought to have interest. Texas is likely to make a bid as well.

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.