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Rafael Palmeiro, 54, signs an independent league contract

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Back in December, Rafael Palmeiro, who last played major league baseball in 2005, told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he was thinking about trying to return to the majors. We all had a laugh — it was a very Uncle Rico-in-“Napoleon Dynamite”-kind of deal — but, obviously, that was and is never going to happen.

Palmeiro is now 54 and he still wants to play baseball. He’s just a lot more realistic about it than he was a few months back. From the Dallas Morning News:

Palmeiro said Tuesday night that he had agreed to play for the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association where he will team with his oldest son, Patrick. Cleburne is scheduled to open it’s season on May 18 against the Winnipeg Gold Eyes.

For what it’s worth, Cleburne is about 40 miles south of Fort Worth.

This is not the first time Palmeiro has suited up to play with his son. Back in 2015 he played for the indy Sugar Land Skeeters.

He’s not hurting anyone. Heck, he’s probably helping the Cleburne Railroaders.

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.