Ronnie Belliard makes weight, gets $825,000

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As a fat guy it amused me when the Dodgers re-signed Ronnie Belliard two months ago and included a clause that guaranteed his one-year, $825,000 contract only if the 5-foot-9 infielder weighed in at 209 pounds or less at some point during spring training.
Sure enough Belliard weighed in at 208 pounds yesterday and earned himself $825,000, but reaching the $250,000 in additional incentives may prove more difficult because it sounds like he’ll begin the season in a bench role despite hitting .351 with five homers in 24 games for the Dodgers down the stretch last year.
Blake DeWitt is expected to be the Opening Day second baseman, leaving Belliard as a pinch-hitter and primary backup at three infield spots. Oh, and just in case NBC Sports decides to put a similar clause into my next contract … well, it was nice knowing you all.

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.