The Athletics are “very interested” in Manny Ramirez

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Athletics general manager Billy Beane said during the Winter Meetings last month that he would prefer to go younger at designated hitter this season, but despite having a number of internal options, things might not work out that way.

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes Los Angeles was told by a source (link in Spanish) that Oakland is “very interested” in Manny Ramirez, who is currently preparing for his comeback attempt in Miami.

We learned a couple of weeks ago that the Orioles and Blue Jays sent scouts to watch Ramirez take batting practice. Rojas was told that while Baltimore “liked” what they saw, the A’s are the team showing the most interest, despite the fact that they haven’t actually seen him in person yet. The 39-year-old is expected to hold a workout for interested teams before the end of the month, so if Rojas’ source is correct, they’ll presumably take a look at him within the next few days.

If or when Ramirez signs with an MLB team, he’ll have to serve a reduced 50-game suspension for his second positive PED test before being eligible to play during the regular season. However, he would be allowed to suit up during spring training.

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.