Marlins say they “are not moving” slugger Giancarlo Stanton

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Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Saturday night that the Marlins have made contact with the Padres to inquire about their interest in young slugger Giancarlo Stanton. And now comes the big denial, via the Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer:

Simply put, the Marlins “are not moving him,” according to a source I spoke with. They haven’t even “discussed” it internally. The team’s plans calling for Stanton to start the season with the club and occupy the clean-up spot have “not changed at all,” according to another source with knowledge of the Marlins’ intentions.

Spencer’s source went on to exclaim that Center’s report from Saturday evening is “completely off base” and “totally ridiculous.”

Stanton isn’t even arbitration-eligible until next year and can’t hit the free agent market until after the 2016 season, so the Fish have no real reason to rush him out the door. But he has publicly expressed his displeasure with the club’s latest firesale and one wonders if he’ll have more to say this summer.

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.