Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus won the starting job at second base by hitting .294 with an .831 OPS in 24 games this spring, but after playing poorly in 14 games to begin the season the Mets have decided to cut him loose.
Emaus, who got the Opening Day nod and started 10 of the first 16 games, went 6-for-37 (.162) with nine strikeouts and four walks in 42 plate appearances.
It seems odd to take him in the Rule 5 draft, hand him the starting job, and then ditch him three weeks later after fewer than than 50 plate appearances, but even the most optimistic projection for Emaus pegs him as merely a useful role player and that was far from guaranteed at age 25.
Justin Turner was called up from Triple-A to take Emaus’ spot on the roster, but Daniel Murphy figures to replace him as the primary second baseman despite hitting just .226 with a .649 OPS in 34 plate appearances of his own. Assuming he clears waivers, Emaus will be offered back to his original team, the Blue Jays.
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.