Option trading: Royals acquire Ervin Santana from Angels

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This week the Angels have reportedly been shopping Ervin Santana and Dan Haren as they face big-money option decisions on both pitchers and according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com they’ve found a taker for Santana in the Royals.

No word yet on the return coming back to the Angels, but don’t expect it to be much. Santana’s option is for $13 million and he was pretty terrible for much of this year, finishing with a 5.16 ERA in 30 starts. And simply by trading Santana instead of declining his option the Angels saved a $1 million buyout.

Within his overall inconsistency Santana has often shown the ability to be a front-line starter, but he’s always struggled to limit homers and at this point he’s a 30-year-old with a 4.33 career ERA. For a one-year pickup he’s a decent gamble for the pitching-starved Royals, even if the price is a bit much.

UPDATE: Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Angels will receive left-hander Brandon Sisk, a 27-year-old Triple-A reliever. In other words, a non-prospect.

UPDATE II: According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels exercised Santana’s $13 million option before the trade and will cover $1 million of it. So the Royals will pay him $12 million.

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.