The Royals give Ned Yost a two-year extension

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In addition to announcing the Ankiel and Farnsworth trade, the Kansas City Royals just announced that they have given Ned Yost a two-year contract extension.

I like this move, really. Ned Yost is not John McGraw, but he’s what this team needs right now. Both as a manager — he has a track record of being good with up and coming players, and the Royals have many of them in their system (including Tim Collins . . . grrrr!) — and as a stabilizing force. The Royals have cycled through manager after manager the past few years, and it’s about time they stick with one for a while.

I have a hard time seeing any better candidates for the Royals job than Yost at this particular time in history. If they reach the brink of contention in a couple of years, sure, maybe they think about bringing in someone else. But for right now, no news is good news for the Royals.  Stay the course, ya know?

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.