Great Moments in Good Clubhouse Guys

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This hadn’t occurred to me, but my HBT colleague Bill Baer notes something amiss with the Phillies’ season plan over at Crashburn Alley: Michael Young’s signing was accompanied by talk about building a better clubhouse, but then the team goes out and gets Delmon Young and now Carlos Zambrano. Who, for all of their charms, have never been mistaken for good clubhouse guys. Particularly Zambrano.

It’s almost as if teams sign whoever they can and laud them with whatever handy label they have at their disposal at the time to make everyone think there’s more of a plan and philosophy in place than there really is.

But I do sort of hope this works, even if it means the Phillies winning a lot of games. Because I think it would put to rest the whole idea of good citizens making for good baseball teams, chemistry mattering and all that jazz.

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.