UPDATE: That was quick. Less than a week after claiming him off waivers the A’s designated Thompson for assignment, putting him back on the waiver wire following one appearance.
Designated for assignment by the Angels last week, Rich Thompson will stay in the AL West after being claimed off waivers by the A’s.
Thompson went from late-inning bullpen role to the waiver wire thanks to an ugly outing against the Twins on April 12, but prior to that the 27-year-old right-hander had a 2.57 ERA and 71/24 K/BB ratio in 74 innings for the Angels during the past two seasons.
He also has a solid Triple-A track record, so if nothing else Thompson is capable of being a useful middle reliever in Oakland.
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.