Dodgers designate Ronnie Belliard for assignment

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Last season Ronnie Belliard was traded from the Nationals to the Dodgers on August 31 and hit .351 with five homers and seven doubles in 24 games, pushing Orlando Hudson aside to become Los Angeles’ starting second baseman down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Re-signed to a one-year, $825,000 contract that included a weigh-in clause and wasn’t guaranteed, Belliard has hit just .216 with a .622 OPS in 185 plate appearances while starting just 36 games and was designated for assignment last night.
Belliard has had a remarkable career as a rare fat middle infielder, playing nearly 1,500 games and sticking around through age 35 despite never being a star, but this might be the end of the line.

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.