Indians promote Chris Antonetti to general manager and name Mark Shapiro team president

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In a move announced back in February and made official this morning, the Indians have promoted assistant general manager Chris Antonetti to GM while former GM Mark Shapiro becomes team president.
Director of baseball operations Mike Chernoff also gets a promotion to assistant GM, essentially moving into Antonetti’s old role, but Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports that “he’ll continue to oversee professional scouting and baseball analytics” along with assisting “in player acquisition, contract negotiations, and day-to-day operations.”
Shapiro replaced John Hart as the Indians general manager in 2001 and faced the difficult task of breaking up a veteran-laden team that had dominated the AL Central while making the playoffs in six of the previous seven seasons.
Shapiro’s rebuilding effort went well initially, as the Indians followed three straight losing seasons with 93 wins in 2005 and then 95 wins and a trip to the ALCS in 2007, but things quickly fell apart after that and now Cleveland is once again in rebuilding mode after losing 97 and 93 games in the past two years.

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.”