Mets closer Bobby Parnell needs neck surgery

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Mets closer Bobby Parnell, who was shut down more than a month ago with a herniated disk in his neck, will undergo surgery at some point according to manager Terry Collins.

Parnell tried to rest and rehab the injury and also got an epidural injection, but the problem remained. He fared well stepping into the closer role for the injured Frank Francisco, saving 22 games with a 2.16 ERA and 44/12 K/BB ratio in 50 innings, but Parnell hasn’t pitched since July 30.

Under team control through 2015 and set to get a sizable raise from this year’s $1.7 million salary via arbitration, the 29-year-old right-hander figures to handle save chances for the Mets next season assuming he’s healthy.

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.