Taking a page out of the Yankees’ playbook, the Reds will enact a facial hair policy

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The Yankees are well-known around the league for their rather stringent policies on grooming. Johnny Damon and Kevin Youkilis are just two of baseball’s cavemen who had to clean themselves up after signing with the Yankees. Not everyone is a fan. Rays starter David Price said last year he wouldn’t sign a long-term deal with the Yankees because of the late George Steinbrenner’s rules on facial hair.

New Reds manager Bryan Price, on the other hand, likes the idea. Jamie Ramsey, the Assistant Director of Media Relations for the Reds, tweeted this earlier today:

Ramsey added that he believes the new policy isn’t meant to be hard on the players; rather, it is Price wanting to construct a team-first atmosphere.

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.