Orioles' manager Dave Trembley is in trouble

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How do you know that? Because people who know things — people like Ken Rosenthal — are talking about who should replace him.  Rosenthal’s choice: Phil Garner. He notes that Andy MacPhail interviewed Garner when MacPhail was president of the Cubs.

I was rather surprised that Trembley was even brought back for 2010. He’s a nice fellow and someone you might want to have around when young players first break into the bigs, you know, so as not to scare them or something, but there’s a fine line between being a friendly welcoming face and perpetuating, however inadvertently, a culture that everything’s OK, win or lose. If Trembley has motivational skills they’ve eluded everyone who watches and writes about the team. He reminds me of a more sedate Ned Yost if such a thing is possible.

Firing the manager is always an exercise in scapegoating to some degree, but the Orioles don’t want for talent at the moment. It’s too early to expect them to contend, but it’s not too early for them to be playing sharper baseball, and it’s never a good time for them to be comfortable with losing, which many Orioles fans think this team is quickly becoming.

Is Phil Garner the answer? Eh, I was never a big fan of his, and there’s a danger in overreacting by bringing in rah-rah guys like him and Larry Bowa and their ilk.  But it’s not like anyone expected Trembley to still be around when this team finally does contend. To the contrary, even if the team was doing better right now, he’ll long have accepted a roving instructor or special assistant job within the organization by then for being the dutiful organizational solider he has been, having been replaced by a guy with some experience with a winning team.

And really, something has to change in Baltimore, if for no other reason than to give the fans something to care about for a while.

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.