Cliff Lee trade talk heating up; Rangers in play

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The competitive portion of the Phillies season seems to be over, so there has been a lot of chatter about them selling now. That Hunter Pence thing that was shot down is some of it. Joe Blanton is some other stuff. And now the Cliff Lee trade watch is getting into swing:

Buster Olney adds that Lee is “in play in trade talks.”

Lee has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract. If they traded him without eating  oodles of dough, they’d get little in exchange. If they ate up oodles of dough, they’d defeat a large part of the purpose of trading Cliff Lee.

I dunno. It sounds like a sexy deal and all, but the Rangers have had Cliff Lee in their Worlds Series rotation and he didn’t make the difference then, so I’m skeptical that they’d give up big prospects or eat big salary to try it again.

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.