Pirates release Jose Contreras

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Pittsburgh has released Jose Contreras from Triple-A.

This is actually the second time the Pirates have released Contreras from his minor-league contract. When it happened the first time back in June they re-signed him almost immediately, so the move was mostly based on avoiding some call-up language in his contract.

Presumably by releasing Contreras for a second time the Pirates are simply through with the 41-year-old veteran. However, in coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery Contreras has a 0.93 ERA and 24/5 K/BB ratio in 19 innings at Triple-A, so he should be able to latch on elsewhere.

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.