The Indians are still alive in the playoff hunt — in fact, they are just 3 1/2 games back in the hyper-competitive AL Wild Card race at the start of tonight’s action — but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports hears that they are “very willing to move” right-hander Justin Masterson in a potential trade.
Masterson has been sidelined since July 7 due to right knee inflammation, but he’s due to be activated for a start this Friday against the Rangers. Of course, the non-waiver trade deadline is this Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, so that complicates things a little bit, but doesn’t necessarily rule anything out before then. Deals can still get done in August too, but the process is trickier.
Masterson, an impending free agent, has posted a disappointing 5.51 ERA and 93/56 K/BB ratio in 98 innings across 18 starts this season. The Indians are said to be looking for “young, controllable starting pitching” in return.
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.