From the Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Dave O’Brien comes word that the Braves have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Felix Pie.
The 27-year-old spent spring training with the Indians but got cut just before the start of the regular season. He was batting .353/.386/.608 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 57 plate appearances for the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League.
Pie has been assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he will function as organizational outfield depth this summer for the Braves. The former top prospect owns a .249/.298/.374 career batting line over parts of five seasons in the major leagues.
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.