R.B.I. Baseball will return in 2014

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R.B.I. Baseball was the most popular baseball video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was not the best baseball game for the NES — that title belongs to Baseball Stars — but R.B.I. had player name licensing from the MLBPA and came out with yearly editions so it flourished over Stars and the also-under-appreciated Bad News Baseball and Bases Loaded during the late 80s and early 90s.

Now all you millions of R.B.I. Baseball fans get to take another ride. MLBAM, the league’s interactive media wing, has announced a spring launch for an R.B.I. Baseball reboot on all current-generation consoles and mobile devices. There isn’t much more information yet — only a Twitter feed, a one-page website and a logo — but the game is coming and will be the first attempt at a console product for the MLBAM folks.

We’ll assume that the R.B.I. Baseball 2014 presentation will be significantly different from the NES versions that hit North American shelves in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Which really is too bad …

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.