Poor, poor Vin Mazzaro

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When a pitcher “wears one,” it means he takes one for the team in a blowout, helping preserve the other arms in the bullpen to fight and pitch another day.  Vin Mazzaro did that last night in the Royals’ 19-1 loss to the Indians, and he did so in epic fashion. According to Joe Posnanski, this was the single worst performance by a pitcher. Ever. In baseball history. As Posnanski notes, no reliever since World War II had allowed 14 runs in a game and no pitcher has ever allowed 14 runs in less than three innings.

Mazzaro was sent down to Omaha after the game.  And in this case, he’s probably happy for the demotion. Not out of shame, but for his own good and the good of Ned Yost who, for reasons that baffle me, let Mazarro take that abuse.  Especially considering that the very purpose such abuse is supposed to serve — saving the pen — didn’t even happen. Nope, Yost still used Tim Collins, Joakim Soria and three other relievers in this one, which makes no sense to me at all. Don’t you put your utility infielder in to pitch a couple of innings at some point?

Mazzaro said all of the right things after the game, but man, at some point you’d hope your manager would save you from all of that.

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.