Ivan Rodriguez won’t re-sign with Nationals, eyes backup role

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Agent Scott Boras told reporters at the winter meetings yesterday that Ivan Rodriguez won’t be re-signing with the Nationals, saying: “I think their plan at the moment excludes him.”

Rodriguez backed up Wilson Ramos this year, but the Nationals still have Jesus Flores around and there are a couple intriguing catcher prospects coming up through the minors.

As for where the future Hall of Famer may wind up, Boras indicated that Rodriguez will be looking for a backup role and “there are still a number of teams that are evaluating him and that situation.”

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post speculates that the Marlins could be a fit, as Rodriguez won a World Series there in 2003 and could play sparingly behind starter John Buck.

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.