Never fear, Utility Man is here!

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No, it’s not Brandon Hicks. It’s Utility Man! Who I just had the pleasure of meeting out on the concourse here in Nashville.

His real name is Ben Youngerman, and he can be hired for your minor league game and — according to his manager, anyway — birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. He’s here, along with with many other entertainers, as part of the minor league trade show. He and his brethren — all sons of Max Patkin, really — use the Winter Meetings to sell their services to the owners of your local minor league nine. When you see some of these guys at the ballpark next summer, it’s likely because they made deals here this week.

Gotta say, I like Utility Man. Everyone around here is dragging tail this morning, bu he’s chipper and on point.  This is his website.  See him in action here:

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.