Cliff Lee-to-Philly imminent?

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ESPN is saying . . .

Three Cleveland scouts — including the club’s director of player
personnel, Steve Lubratich — were in Lehigh Valley to watch the
Phillies’ Triple-A team play an 11 a.m. ET game.

Lehigh Valley starter Carlos Carrasco, who has been a subject of
talks between the two teams, was abruptly scratched from his start in
that game with no explanation from the club.

An official of a team that had been speaking to Cleveland about Lee
told ESPN.com Wednesday morning it was his impression that Lee was
about to be traded elsewhere, and the Phillies’ discussions with
Toronto about Roy Halladay have slowed to a trickle in the last 24
hours.

Many outlets have reported that the Phillies are hellbent on getting a
starter and many more are saying that Halladay is increasingly unlikely
to go anywhere. Not hard to do the math there.

UPDATE: More details on Lee and Philly:

The defending World Series champion have offered the Cleveland
Indians a package of players for Lee, a baseball official familiar with
the trade proposal told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Philadelphia’s offer doesn’t include top pitching prospect Kyle
Drabek, the person said on condition of anonymity because negotiations
are ongoing. The non-waiver trade deadline is Friday.

Drabek was a clear dealbreaker for Philly, and their off-limits sign on him is why the Jays won’t deal Halladay.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.