The other day I wrote that there are a lot of devoutly religious young ballplayers but we just don’t hear that much about them like we do Tim Tebow, in part because of the differences between the baseball news cycle and the football news cycle.
I still think that’s true, but over at the Los Angeles Times, Steve Dilbeck has a story about Clayton Kershaw and his faith that does suggest that personal temperament has a lot to do with it too. The upshot: Kershaw approaches his faith and his job in different ways than someone like Tebow does.
No, not shocking or controversial. And for my part it doesn’t mean that he does things better than Tim Tebow does or whatever. Religion is just something kind of foreign to me, and I find it interesting when its nature (as opposed to its substance) is discussed. And this is a timely and interesting article given what we were talking about here the other day, so there’s that.
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.