The Phillies’ stat guy is now a full-time employee

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It was reported in November that the Phillies had finally hired a stat guy from MLB’s labor relations department, but we later learned that he wasn’t a full-time employee and that it was being referred to as an “externship.” Well, the Phillies must have liked what they saw from him because he’s now on board as an employee:

Good for the Phillies, even if they are 10 years behind the rest of the world. On a related note, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. recently started watching “LOST.” He’s dying to know what the numbers mean.

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.