UPDATE: It’s on. It’s on like Donkey Kong:
Who says you can’t go home again?
2:28 PM: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports on a possible reunion of old friends:
The Phillies, still looking for a left-handed bat to come off the bench, are “sniffing around” on Bobby Abreu, multiple baseball sources tell CSNPhilly.com.
Abreu has not played in the bigs since 2012 — and he stunk then — but he’s been putting up big numbers this offseason in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .322 with three homers, 28 RBIs and a .877 OPS in 50 games. He’s probably worth a look in camp, especially considering all it will take is a minor league invite to get him to Clearwater.
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.