Baseball players and bad music go together

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Two items caught my eye this morning that make me realize how bad things have gotten with ballplayers and their love of bad music.

First is a post by MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, detailing the walkup (and walkout) music of the Cleveland Indians. The takeaway: the vast majority of Indians like very bad music.  There are a couple of exceptions. Matt LaPorta likes a Tom Petty song, for example, but his list — which also includes Alabama and the Eagels — suggests that he may be 50 years-old.

Shelley Duncan comes out to “The Stroke” by Billy Squier, which is OK, I guess, but I have to scrutinize him pretty closely seeing as though my daughter likes him.  Would you let your daughter swoon over a Billy Squier fan?  Have you seen the video for “Rock me tonight?

Finally, why Chris Perez — a relief pitcher — comes out to “Firestarter” suggests that he’s either clueless of has a good sense of irony. I hope it’s the irony.

Then there’s Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.  He’s his own sad case.  He was at MLB.com’s Fan Cave last week where an intervention was staged by Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner. I don’t think it will be a success:

I change my mind about this a lot, but at the moment, my walkup music would rotate between “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles, “Where is my Mind” by the Pixies and “How Soon is Now” by the Smiths. Yeah, that last one is kind of mopey for walkup music, but the intro is pretty sweet.

I’d normally say “don’t judge me” now, but I suppose I pretty much gave up my right to that.

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.”