Link-O-Rama: Cubs not interested in bringing Harden back

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* Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs “have no plans” to re-sign impending free agent Rich Harden despite the oft-injured right-hander saying publicly that he’d like to stay in Chicago. Minnesota made a run for Harden prior to the trading deadline, but an incentive-laden deal from a big-payroll team seems like the most probable scenario.
* Team USA lost their tournament opener and then won 14 straight games to capture back-to-back World Cup titles, defeating Cuba in the championship game yesterday. Cuba had won nine straight World Cup titles before losing to the United States in 2007. Rangers prospect and 2008 first-round pick Justin Smoak was named MVP of the tournament after hitting nine homers with 22 RBIs in 15 games.
* Nate Schierholtz has been swinging at everything while posting awful strikeout-to-walk ratios for his entire pro career, which spans 800 games and 3,100 plate appearances between the majors and minors. All of which makes Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s contention that playing winter ball this offseason “will help him learn the strike zone” kind of silly.
* Omar Vizquel has spent this season backing up Elvis Andrus in Texas and the majors’ oldest position player said yesterday that he’s planning to play in 2010. Vizquel was a starter for the first 20 years of his career, but the 42-year-old has hit .266/.319/.343 while logging just 187 plate appearances as a full-time backup this season.
* San Francisco is unlikely to exercise the $8.1 million option on Freddy Sanchez for 2010 and the impending free agent indicated yesterday that he’d rather hit the open market than agree to a new deal with the Giants at a lower salary.
* Ozzie Guillen clarified that he doesn’t hate football, he just hates football after his team gives up 12 unanswered runs after leading 5-0.

Kyle Schwarber: Before and After

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It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear  a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.

Which brings us to Kyle Schwarber. All offseason long we’ve been getting reports about Schwarber working out, losing weight and, of course, getting into The Best Shape of His Life. And some of those pics have definitely shown a young man who has cut fat and gotten lean. Good for him!

Let’s see how that translates to Schwarber in uniform. Here is is at spring training last year:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

 

Here he is toward the end of last season:

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 09: at Wrigley Field on September 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

And here he is now:

MESA, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs poses during Chicago Cubs Photo Day on February 20, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

 

Nice goin’, kid.