Jose Valverde won’t pitch in World Baseball Classic due to personal issue

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Jose Valverde can’t convince an MLB team to sign him despite saving 35 games with a 3.78 ERA for the Tigers last season and now he’s not even going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.

Valverde was slated to play for the Dominican Republic, but the team announced that he’s been removed from the roster due to an undisclosed “personal issue” and replaced by Lorenzo Barcelo.

Once upon a time Barcelo was a top prospect in the White Sox’s farm system, but his big-league career stalled at age 24 after posting a 4.50 ERA in 66 innings and the 35-year-old right-hander has spent the past few seasons in the Mexican League.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.