Padres pick up club options on manager Bud Black for 2014 and 2015

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Bud Black won’t have to hear the words “lame duck” anytime soon. The Padres announced this evening that they have picked up the club options on his contract for both 2014 and 2015.

Here’s a statement from general manager Josh Byrnes:

“Buddy has a keen insight into team dynamics and creates a great environment for the players and coaching staff,” said Byrnes.  “He is a gifted leader with a terrific mind for the game and a genuine interest and curiosity related to all areas of our organization.”

Black took over as Padres manager prior to the 2007 season after Bruce Bochy was hired by the Giants. He has a 464-509 (.477) record during his tenure with the club, including winning seasons in 2007 and 2010.  While the Padres were 76-86 this year, Black’s club finished on a high note by going 42-33 after the All-Star break.

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.