Kelvim Escobar says he’s doing fine. Kevin Kernan writes the following:
Despite the hysteria of last week, he is right on time in his rehab,
according to the Mets and, more importantly, according to his
representatives. The plan from the beginning was not to rush Escobar . . . Escobar insists he will be ready by the start of the season, but the
Mets are not counting on that and are taking it slow with his rehabbing
shoulder. That is why there is so much emphasis now on trying to find
an eighth-inning pitcher.
I can’t seem to find a story from back when he signed in December, but I’m pretty sure that the Mets did not say he was doubtful for Opening Day back then, which makes their claim that he’s “right on time” on his rehab a little hard to swallow. Something has obviously happened with him.
I’m perfectly willing to admit that I was wrong about Escobar last week, but as I said at the time, I don’t think the Mets get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to shooting straight with respect to injuries these days. I’ll believe that he’s not injured when he actually pitches.
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.