UPDATE: Oliver Perez moved to the bullpen

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Bad Ollie.jpgUPDATE: Perez has been moved to the bullpen, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

Kevin Burkhardt of SNY.tv reports that Manuel has yet to name a replacement, but logic dictates that it would be left-hander Hisanori Takahashi. If not, the Mets would need to make a roster move should they choose to pluck R.A. Dickey or Dillon Gee from the minor leagues.

9:01 AM: Mets manager Jerry Manuel wouldn’t come right out and say it, but it would appear Oliver Perez is on his way out of the rotation after his latest implosion against the Marlins on Friday night (quote via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com).

“I’m concerned with the outings that we’re getting,” Manuel said. “The
last two outings, I have to be concerned with. We have to entertain some
different things.”

Perez was trounced for seven runs over just 3 1/3 innings against the Marlins, tying a career-high by giving up four home runs. He served up three home runs in the fourth inning alone.

The left-hander now has a 5.94 ERA and 1.92 WHIP over his first seven starts, compiling an ugly 27/28 K/BB ratio. Even worse, Perez is 3-7 with a 6.52 ERA and a 89/86 K/BB ratio since signing a three-year, $36 million contract with the Mets following the 2008 season.

So, yes, Perez is likely on the way out of the rotation, but the Mets would need his permission before they send him to the minor leagues. And so, with Scott Boras in tow, there’s a good chance Perez joins Jeff Suppan as one of the game’s most overpriced mop-up men.

Regardless of where Perez goes from here, the most likely candidate to replace him in the rotation is Hisanori Takahashi. The 35-year-old southpaw has a 2.74 ERA over his first 14 major league appearances, compiling an impressive 29/10 K/BB ratio over 23 innings.

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.”