Clayton Kershaw wins the National League Most Valuable Player Award

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been named the National League’s Most Valuable Player, receiving 18 first-place votes. He is the first pitcher to win the NL MVP and the Cy Young award in the same season since Bob Gibson in 1968. He joins Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe as Dodgers to have won both awards in the same season, and is the first Dodger to win the MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

Kershaw, 26, led the league in ERA for the fourth consecutive season, but his 2014 campaign was arguably the best of his career. He finished with a 1.77 ERA and a 239/31 K/BB ratio in 198 1/3 innings, helping lead the Dodgers to another NL West title.

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton finished in second place and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen finished in third place. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, teammate of Kershaw, finished seventh while Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon received down-ballot votes.

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.