Nationals interested in reliever Ryan Madson

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James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals were among the teams in attendance at Ryan Madson’s showcase last Friday in Phoenix and came away impressed by the free agent reliever.

Madson reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions during the workout and should soon land a minor league contract from one of the 15-or-so clubs that showed up to watch him pitch.

The 33-year-old right-hander hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2011 postseason due to elbow issues, but he was among the best late-inning arms in the sport before Tommy John surgery sidetracked his career. Madson posted a 2.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 126/29 K/BB ratio in 113 2/3 innings during his final two seasons (2010-2011) with the Phillies.

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.