According to Bill Chastian of MLB.com, the Rays officially released Matt Bush yesterday after he spent the entire season on the restricted list following his DUI hit-and-run arrest in March.
Bush is accused of hitting a 72-year-old motorcyclist with a vehicle while under the influence and fleeing the scene of an accident. The 26-year-old remains in a Charlotte County jail, though the state of Florida has offered him a plea deal.
Bush was selected by the Padres with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2004 First-Year Player draft, but he his career has been marred by personal and legal troubles. He was arrested for a fight at a nightclub in Arizona before he even played a game. After struggling as a shortstop, the Padres moved him to the mound, but he required Tommy John surgery in 2008. He had a pair of alcohol-related incidents in 2009, during which he was acquired by the Blue Jays and then released. The Rays were hopeful that he had worked through his off-field troubles and was ready to salvage his career as a pitcher, but he’s all out of chances.
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.