After his Nationals were swept by the Phillies yesterday manager Davey Johnson was heard in the clubhouse yelling “you come down and manage the team!” to what Bill Ladson of MLB.com identified as general manager Mike Rizzo.
Once that happened all the reporters were told to leave the clubhouse for 15 minutes and when they returned Johnson explained: “I had a discussion with my boss.”
He declined to get into any further details and Rizzo declined to comment about the incident at all, leaving everyone to speculate about what was really going on.
Johnson was clearly frustrated after the Nationals lost for the fourth consecutive game, and rightfully so since it was an ugly, mistake-filled performance, but Washington still has the best record in baseball at 77-50 and remains 4.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.
However, according to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com yesterday’s yelling was probably much ado about (mostly) nothing.
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.