Nightengale notes: Bradley, Swisher, Halladay

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today posted a bunch of interesting notes via Twitter today, including:
* Tampa Bay has become “the clear-cut favorite” to acquire Milton Bradley from the Cubs.
Last offseason the Rays pursued Bradley as a free agent before he signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Cubs and now they can get him for pennies on the dollar. There have been rumors of a Bradley-for-Pat Burrell swap, as Burrell was a huge disappointing in his first season with the Rays and is owed $9 million in 2010.
* Nick Swisher is “ever so quietly” being shopped by the Yankees.
Swisher was credited with helping to energize the Yankees’ clubhouse and more importantly he made a big on-field impact by hitting .249/.371/.498 with 29 homers and 35 doubles, but going 6-for-47 (.128) in the playoffs overshadowed his strong regular season. Could he be an option for the Cardinals if Matt Holliday signs elsewhere?
* Los Angeles is “focusing on” Roy Halladay because the Dodgers “badly need an ace,” but would have to give up Chad Billingsley “and others” to get a deal done.
Billingsley is 24 years old with a 47-30 record and 3.55 ERA in 634 career innings, so dealing him straight-up for one season of Halladay sounds iffy to me. Dealing him “and others” would likely be a mistake given that Halladay can become a free agent next offseason while Billingsley is under team control through 2012.
* Detroit, Seattle, and a “mystery team” have talked about a deal involving Edwin Jackson and Brandon Morrow.
Various rumors last week had the Tigers shopping Jackson because of payroll constraints and the Mariners have soured on Morrow, but obviously this is tough to weigh in on too much without knowing the third party.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”