Joe Torre says Roger Clemens belongs in Hall of Fame

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No, these comments won’t surprise anyone, but Joe Torre said Sunday at Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium that Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame.

“He is to me,” Torre said. “I can’t make other people look at him that way. I can just tell you the way I feel. I was proud to have him play for me. He always gave you everything he had and I always respected that.”

Torre managed Clemens in New York from 1999-2003 and again in 2007. He said the former seven-time Cy Young Award winner was “like a son to me.”

“Unfortunately the question mark is always going to be there with him,” he added. “It’s something that’s sad for me. Because Roger Clemens, and the way that he went about his business, I disliked him like everybody else until I got a chance to know him.”

Clemens, who ranks ninth all-time with 354 victories and third with 4,672 strikeouts, will be eligible for the Hall for the first time this winter.

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.