As expected, Norichika Aoki traveled to Arizona over the weekend to have an in-person workout with the Brewers after they bid $2.5 million for the Japanese outfielder’s exclusive negotiating rights.
Nikkon Sports, via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, reports that the workout lasted 75 minutes and “included catch, long toss, batting practice and base running.”
Eight different Brewers representatives were in attendance, including general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke.
The two sides have until January 17 to agree to terms on a contract and the Brewers will be refunded the posting fee if a deal isn’t struck. Typically the posting fee and contract are similar in terms of total value, so if the Brewers liked what they saw from Aoki he could be in line for $2-3 million along with the $2.5 million that would go to his old team in Japan.
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.