Padres release Micah Owings

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From Corey Brock of MLB.com comes word that the Padres have requested unconditional release waivers on Micah Owings. Which means the right-hander will become a free agent in early November.

Owings threw only 9 2/3 innings this season for San Diego before requiring surgery on his right elbow. He should be recovered from that procedure by the start of spring training next February, but the rehab and his lack of recent success will likely result in the 30-year-old from Georgia having to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league contract from some team this winter.

Owings spoke in July about wanting to focus more on hitting than pitching, but it’s not clear what his future plans are in that regard. The former third-round pick of the D’Backs owns a respectable .813 career OPS.

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.