Terry Francona will be at the Fenway 100th Anniversary celebration after all

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Old conventional wisdom: Thank goodness Terry Francona won’t be at the Fenway Park 100th Anniversary celebration because it would be too much of a distraction.

New conventional wisdom: Thank goodness Terry Francona will be at the Fenway Park 100th Anniversary celebration because, man, with the way things are going, we need a distraction!

Former Boston Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst Terry Francona has changed his mind and says he will be attending the Red Sox’s 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park on Friday afternoon.

Francona had originally said he would not attend because of the way things ended between him and the Red Sox after the collapse of 2011.

Actually, I’d like to think that he’s going to be there to gloat.  That he’ll soak in the cheers of the fans as cameramen are all over Bobby Valentine and team brass as they try to act like nearly 40,000 people aren’t cheering their heads off and wishing desperately that Tito was still in charge.

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.