Blue Jays sign Andrew Albers

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Andrew Albers is headed back to MLB after a rough 2014 season in Korea, signing a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays that includes an invitation to spring training.

Albers debuted for the Twins in 2013 and held his own in 10 starts as a 27-year-old rookie, but with an Opening Day roster spot looking like a long shot for 2014 he agreed to be sold to the Hanwha Eagles in Korea.

He struggled there, going 6-13 with a 5.89 ERA in a very hitter-friendly environment. Albers throws strikes and had lots of success in the minors, but the left-hander’s low-velocity approach means he’ll have to really impress to get back to the big leagues.

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.