Jason Bay: the next Bobby Bonilla?

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That’s what the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro calls Jason Bay as he warns the Mets away from taking the plunge into what he calls the second tier of the free agent market:

And that brings me around to this point: How many times do you need to
have anvils fall on your head before you take a step out of the way?
Which is to say, how many times do you have to sign Kevin Appier and
Bobby Bonilla before you recognize the difference between attracting
the cream of a good free-agent class (see Sabathia, CC, and Teixeira, Mark) and the prettiest homecoming queens of Homely High? And that’s what the Mets would be doing here.

Vaccaro is not the arbiter of all that is wise, but I am unaware of a single pundit or fan who has come out in favor of the Mets signing Bay to the five-year deal he wants.  And they may still not do it. John Harper of the Daily News notes this morning that the Mets are trying to hold the line at four years and not bid against themselves.

Of course it is Omar Minaya we’re talking about, and he doesn’t do a lot to instill confidence. To that end Harper has the line of the day, saying that the Mets have “apparently determined not to be bluffed into overpaying any more than necessary for the free-agent left fielder.”

Read that quote again if the humor of it escaped you the first time.

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.”