Orlando Cabrera likely to sign with Reds, Rockies or Nationals

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MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Orlando Cabrera has narrowed his list of suitors down to the Reds, Nationals, and Rockies.
Cabrera hasn’t started at a position other than shortstop since he was a 23-year-old rookie in 1998, so if remaining there is a priority Cincinnati could be the pick. Troy Tulowitzki’s presence guarantees that he’d be purely a second baseman in Colorado and it’s unclear where Washington would play Cabrera, as the Nationals have a young shortstop in Ian Desmond and an old shortstop in Cristian Guzman.
Cabrera was sent from Oakland to Minnesota at the trading deadline and got tons of credit for the Twins’ dramatic turnaround after batting .411 with 21 runs and 16 RBIs over the final 16 games. However, he also hit a putrid .237/.268/.361 in his first 43 games with the Twins and batted .289/.313/.430 overall in Minnesota, which is very close to his modest .275/.322/.398 career line.
He’s likely to decline offensively at age 35 and Ultimate Zone Rating already shows him as losing several steps defensively, rating 15 runs below average at shortstop in 2009. He’s rated well defensively in the past, but Cabrera looked bad enough following the trade that Ron Gardenhire even admitted his range was lacking. In other words, the two teams that end up missing out on Cabrera probably shouldn’t feel too bad.

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.