Nationals sign Gio Gonzalez to five-year contract extension

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According to the Nationals’ official Twitter feed, newly-acquired left-hander Gio Gonzalez has been signed to a five-year contract extension. The deal also carries options for 2017 and 2018.

Gonzalez was sent from Oakland to Washington three weeks ago for top prospects Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock, Derek Norris and A.J. Cole.

The 26-year-old starter was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and stood to make a significant raise over the $420,000 league-minimum wage that he earned in 2011. This new contract with the Nats covers all of his years of arbitration eligibility and also buys out his first year of free agency.

Gonzalez posted a spectacular 3.12 ERA in 32 starts last season for the A’s, striking out 197 batters in 202 innings. He holds a 3.93 career ERA over parts of four seasons. No word yet on the financial terms.

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.