What the heck is pine tar anyway?

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My entire life experience with pine tar is (a) watching George Brett go crazy after the famous pine tar game homer; and (b) seeing pitchers get in trouble for putting it on their hands. I really don’t know what pine tar is or what its non-baseball uses are.

Thank goodness for people who do. Like the folks at NBC News who explain here what the stuff actually is. Insert that old “The More You Know” graphic.

In other NBC News news, I will be on NBC Nightly News tonight talking about Michael Pineda and the pine tar junk. It’ll be the last segment, because The Man can’t handle me before 6:45. And I am wearing a tie, so you know it’s special. Anything for Brian Williams.

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.