Hideki Matsui unlikely to re-sign with A’s

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Since taking over as the A’s manager in the middle of the season Bob Melvin has said repeatedly that he’d like the team to re-sign Hideki Matsui, but he sounds highly unlikely to get his wish.

Melvin reiterated his desire for Matsui to return while speaking to reporters yesterday at the winter meetings, but general manager Billy Beane downplayed the odds of it happening and indicated that the A’s will turn to younger players in the designated hitter role.

Beane mentioned Chris Carter, Brandon Allen, and Kila Ka’aihue, each of whom have some flaws and each of whom are very capable of topping Matsui’s production at a fraction of the cost.

Matsui plans to play somewhere in 2012 at age 38, but hit just .251 with 12 homers and a career-low .696 OPS in 141 games for the A’s while being paid $4.25 million.

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.