Javier Vazquez’s comeback, which was going to include pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, is over before it started.
Last month Vazquez underwent what was said to be a minor knee surgery to repair meniscus damage, but Ruben Rodriguez of El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico reports that he will not pitch in the WBC. And according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that means Vazquez “will not pitch in MLB this year.”
Vazquez would have had to pitch well (and prove he was healthy) in the WBC to draw significant interest from MLB teams anyway, so the knee problems sabotaged all of that for the 36-year-old.
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.