Everyone figured that Bob Brenly was on his way back to Arizona after his exit from the Cubs booth was confirmed Wednesday. The Diamondbacks made it official today, naming him their TV color guy, and announced a surprise choice as the new play-by-play man: ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume.
The move keeps Brenly in the booth with a number friendly play-by-play guy. Berthiaume has an active presence on twitter and shows a fondness for advanced stats. He seems like a great choice for Arizona, and the new booth figures to be a nice upgrade over the Daron Sutton-Mark Grace pairing that disintegrated in 2012.
As for Len Kasper’s new partner in Chicago, that’s still up in the air. Kerry Wood told CSNChicago’s David Kaplan that he has no interest in the job. Kaplan mentions Todd Hollandsworth, Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Lyons, Eric Karros and Dan Plesac as some possibilities to join WGN. He also brings up Doug Glanville, who would be a terrific choice, in my opinion. Grace doesn’t appear to be a candidate.
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.