B.J. Upton benched again

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Our Fredi is learning. B.J. Upton, mired in, well, it can’t really be called a “slump” when it’s his whole season, is riding pine against the Nationals tonight. In his place in center field: Jason Heyward. Evan Gattis will be in left and Justin Upton in right.

Counting tonight, Upton has been benched five times in the Braves last seven games. And in the two games he started he went 0 for 6 with five strikeouts. Overall this year he’s “hitting” .136/.232/.247 with 62 strikeouts in 158 at bats.

He’s in the first year of a five-year, $75 million deal. If the Braves weren’t in first place I figure he’d be getting way more pub than he is for stinking as bad as he has.

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.