As expected, Juan Carlos Oviedo is having difficulty securing a visa in the Dominican Republic after the reliever formerly known as Leo Nunez was busted for falsifying his identity.
Marlins pitchers and catchers must report tomorrow, but Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes that Oviedo definitely won’t be there and “the Marlins aren’t sure when Oviedo will be given the green light.”
Marlins president David Samson said previously that the team is no longer counting on Oviedo being on the Opening Day roster, although that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be cleared for a visa and travel to the United States by then. It could mean he reports to spring training and MLB hands down a suspension that keeps him from pitching.
Oviedo avoided arbitration last month by agreeing to a one-year, $6 million contract, but much like Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia in Cleveland the Marlins won’t have to pay anything if he can’t pitch for one reason or another.
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.