Josh Willingham officially announced his retirement at age 35, following 11 seasons in the majors for the Marlins, Twins, Nationals, A’s, and Royals.
Willingham signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Twins in 2012 and had a career-year that season, hitting .260 with 35 homers and an .890 OPS in 145 games.
He struggled to stay healthy in the final two seasons of the contract, playing a total of just 203 games in 2013/2014 while hitting .211 with a .724 OPS.
Willingham perhaps could have struck around for another season as a bench bat or platoon designated hitter versus left-handers, but he ceased being a serviceable defensive left fielder.
He finishes with 195 career homers and an .823 OPS in 1,147 games–including an OPS above .800 every season from 2006-2012–which is fantastic production considering Willingham didn’t get his first extended action in the majors until age 27 despite topping a .900 OPS at Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.
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.