As far as I’m concerned, every team makes a concerted effort to get their players represented in the All-Star game, but this Associated Press report makes it look like the Marlins might be pushing it a little bit:
If a fan fills out 200 All-Star ballots, available at any of 30
locations around Sun Life Stadium, the Marlins will reward him or her
with two tickets to an upcoming home game.
There’s two caveats:
All eight Marlins on the ballot must be voted for every time, and the
ballots need to be turned in by the conclusion of the sixth inning.
The Marlins are offering smaller prizes for 50 or 100 completed ballots,
such as a Hanley Ramirez figurine.
Okay. Two things. One, the Marlins have a hard enough time getting their fans to come out to the ballpark, so I’m guessing only a small minority will actually be willing to fill out 200 ballots. And two, if there is some Marlins’ superfan who is willing to go all “Sanchez, Uggla, Ramirez, Cantu, Baker, Coghlan, Maybin, Ross” on the ballot 200 times, well, God bless ’em. The Marlins need more fans like you. Why not get rewarded for your efforts?
It’s not like there’s much integrity in the voting process anyway. Did ya’ notice Jimmy Rollins is currently the leading vote-getter for the shortstop position despite only playing in 12 games this season? Okay, so let’s not go crazy here. Besides, Hanley Ramirez could use the boost.
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.”