With the White Sox in last place despite a perfectly decent pitching staff hitting coach Jeff Manto is on the hot seat. Chicago’s lineup ranks dead last in the American League in runs scored, but manager Robin Ventura gave Manto a vote of confidence:
It’s one of those it’s part of the game. I see what Jeff’s doing. I’m behind him because I know how hard he works, what he’s put into it and what he’s teaching. The things he talks about, he and Harold [Baines], I’m definitely in his corner.
Harold Baines is Manto’s assistant hitting coach, so the White Sox are actually employing two people devoted to coaching the league’s lowest-scoring offense. Ventura also suggested “you look at me too” when criticism is being thrown around, which is one of those be careful what you wish for things. Whatever the case, once the votes of confidence start up the clock is ticking on someone getting fired.
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.