Dodgers are in the “early stages” of extending Hanley Ramirez

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Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports says the Dodgers are in the “early stages” of contract negotiations with Hanley Ramirez, who hits free agency after the 2014 season.

Ramirez, 30, hit .345/.402/.638 batting line with 20 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 62 runs scored in 86 games last season for Los Angeles. When healthy, he’s insanely valuable. And, given how thin shortstop is around the game these days, he’s going to be pretty expensive too.  But this is the Dodgers we’re talking about here, so they can make it happen.

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.