“Bryce Harper is a conservative hero”

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Know what? You can read politics into too many things. Like this clown from the Daily Caller, who has decided that Bryce Harper is symbolic of some conservative rebirth, because he hustles and Jason Heyward is symbolic of liberalism because he’s lazy and complacent.

Normally that kind of construction is indicative of some sort of racism too — look at the industrious white man and the lazy black man! — but I think this guy is so enamored of seeing the political in everything that race isn’t even on his mind. No, his idiocy is pretty much monomaniacally political:

Bryce Harper is a conservative hero. The star rookie for the Washington Nationals has woken up Major League Baseball, and watching it unfold has reminded me of nothing so much as the collapse of the old political paradigms and the inevitable and upcoming rebirth of conservatism in November …

Harper is “scrappy” — yes, he uses the word scrappy — because he took an extra base when he hit a single to right against the Braves. Heyward is some old awful liberal because he was slow getting to the ball:

To me, the play carried even greater symbolic importance. Heyward’s bungle showed a complacency, if not indolence, that Harper threatens to destroy, but it also could be a metaphor for the collapse of the old liberal order. Heyward was like one of those public school teachers who, because they are a union member, can’t be fired and so are relegated to the “rubber room” to sit and read the paper and gather a check for the rest of their lives.

I don’t know if this is worse baseball analysis or political analysis, but it’s all kinds of bad either way.

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.