Bryce Harper does not #RespectTheA

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If you weren’t watching baseball into the wee hours of Sunday morning, you might have missed some Bryce Harper drama at Turner Field. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains

What’s the problem with the ‘A’ Bryce Harper?

The Nationals outfielder dragged his foot across the Braves emblem in the dirt behind home plate – in a clearly intentional move – in each of his first three trips to the batter’s box in Saturday night’s game against the Braves.

Harper has been roundly booed in each plate appearance during the series. He apparently chose to take the lack of southern hospitality out on the Georgia clay.

Here’s a Vine of Harper doing the deed, via user Atlanta Sports Guy:

That sure looks intentional, but Harper denied doing it on purpose after the game. “That’s the last thing on my mind when I’m coming to the plate,” he told James Wagner of the Washington Post. “I have no idea.”

The people running the Braves’ official Twitter account took notice …

The Nats and Braves wrap up their weekend series on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Retaliation, perhaps?

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.