Who must Mike Stanton kill to make the bigs?

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Stanton-mike.jpgThe Florida Marlins sent Mike Stanton down to Double-A Jacksonville on Wednesday. (No not this Mike Stanton, this Mike Stanton. You know, the guy who hit 28 home runs in 129 minor league games last season.)

Anyway, the strong, young, Marlins’ version of Mike Stanton might not be down on the farm too long, as Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez sounds eager for his star prospect to bash his way to the bigs, no matter who gets hurt along the way.

From the Miami Herald:

“We sent him down, but he’ll let us know when he’s ready,” Gonzalez said Wednesday before his team began warming up to take on the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium. “It’s just a matter of him getting some at-bats and putting up some numbers or decapitating somebody down there. Maybe the league president will say get this guy out of here before he hurts somebody.”

The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder, who is ranked No. 3 on MLB.com’s Top 50 Prospects List, hit .333 with a .407 on base and .833 slugging in 24 spring at-bats. He also hit three home runs this spring, all off Major League Pitchers (although one was a Met, and none of the pitchers were decapitated or otherwise injured).

So consider this an official notice to pitchers of the Southern League: Don’t forget to duck.

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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.”