Cubs owner Tom Ricketts makes a bold statement at yesterday’s presser announcing the renovations to Wrigley Field:
“This is going to improve the fan experience all the way around,” he said. “If this plan is approved, we will win the World Series.”
The thinking on this, apparently, is that the renovations will lead to more money which will lead to the Cubs being able to put a better team together. Of course, the Cubs have never lacked for money. They’ve lacked for good decisions. I suppose you can recover better from bad decisions if you have more money, but I’ve never really felt like the Cubs’ biggest issue was revenue.
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.