U.S. Cellular Field may get a name change next year

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It may not happen for the 2013 season because the deal is not yet done, but the park formerly known as New Comiskey may be Sprint Field or something like it in time for 2014. Why? Because U.S. Cellular is selling some of its business units to Sprint/Nextel, and exiting the Chicago market:

There has been no word yet from U.S. Cellular or Sprint/Nextel on the future of the name of the stadium, but sources in the telecom industry told me this morning that they expect to see some or all of the U.S. Cellular phone stores gone from the market and a major push to further establish the Sprint/Nextel name in the Chicago area.

Also in the article, talk about why the Cubs don’t sell the naming rights for Wrigley Field. Which, though it would risk pissing off basically everyone with taste and good sense, would probably give the Ricketts family $15 million a year. Which is an INSANE amount of money compared to other naming rights deals, so take it with a grain of salt.

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.