Nationals re-sign Michael Gonzalez

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Left-hander Michael Gonzalez has re-signed with the Nationals after being released by the team earlier this week.

It’s a pattern we’ve seen often this spring: Veteran player on a minor-league contract gets released so the team doesn’t have to pay him a $100,000 “retention” bonus, goes looking for a big-league roster spot elsewhere, and then returns to the original team when he can’t find it.

Gonzalez still seems capable of being a decent middle reliever at age 35–last season he had a 4.68 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 50 innings for the Brewers–so he’ll try to prove that at Triple-A and hope for another opportunity in Washington.

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.