Orioles agree to trade for Phillies’ Jim Thome

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has the scoop:

According to a baseball source, the Phillies are in serious talks with the Baltimore Orioles about a potential trade involving Jim Thome.

The Orioles are in the market for a designated hitter and the Phillies are willing to deal Thome to a club where he could fill that role.

Thome is still the Phillies down in Miami, but that could change at some point in the very near future.

The 41-year-old has posted a .242/.338/.516 batting line, five home runs and 15 RBI in 71 plate appearances this season. He would serve as a part-time designated hitter for Baltimore if a deal can be worked out.

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UPDATE, 5:51 PM: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun has confirmed through a source that a trade is indeed close and says the Phillies will likely be receiving “minor-leaguers” in return from the O’s.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that a trade has been agreed upon. It will be announced after the Phillies and Orioles complete the games they’re currently in the midst of playing.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM: According to Rosenthal, the Phils will get right-hander Kyle Simon and catcher Gabriel Lino in return from the O’s. Simon, 21, was a fourth-round selection in 2011. He has a 3.96 ERA in 72 2/3 innings this season at Single-A. Lino, 19, is batting .218/.282/.340 in 56 games — also at the Single-A level.

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.