The Dodgers announce some stadium upgrades

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It’s hard to remember that, just a couple of years ago, there was talk of the Dodgers leaving Dodger Stadium and building a downtown ballpark. I’m guessing most of that was a bluff, but the fact that it even got to the bluffing stage is shocking to me given how beautiful and historic that place is.

Those days are gone, however, and the Dodgers continue to make needed upgrades to their wonderful ballpark. The latest group of upgrades were announced yesterday and are detailed over at MLB.com. Included are changes to the visiting clubhouse, added food options and lounging/bar areas, upgrade of electrical infrastructure and even more trees and greenery beyond the outfield walls.

No one element is going to be terribly noticeable, but these sorts of things are the kinds of upgrades which, if older, now long-dead parks had undertaken as they aged, would probably still be around.  Good to know Dodgers Stadium — somehow now the third oldest park in Major League Baseball — will be around for a long time.

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.