Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .359 and on pace for 151 RBIs

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Adrian Gonzalez totaled eight hits in three games while facing the Padres for the first time since they traded him to the Red Sox in December and now leads the league in batting average (.359), RBIs (69), hits (109), and doubles (25) while ranking among the top three in slugging percentage (.609), OPS (1.019), and runs scored (55).

Gonzalez’s raw numbers were severely deflated by playing half his games in San Diego’s extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark, as his road numbers always dwarfed his home production. That has all changed now that Gonzalez is calling Fenway Park home, as he’s hit .380 with a 1.025 OPS in Boston.

Gonzalez has always been one of the truly elite hitters in baseball, but now his home ballpark is actually allowing his raw numbers to show his greatness. In addition to the .359 batting average Gonzalez is on pace for 151 RBIs, which would be the eighth-highest total since 1950. He’s also on pace to join Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Joe Medwick as the only players in baseball history to hit .350 or higher with 30-plus homers, 50-plus doubles, and 150-plus RBIs. Medwick was the last guy to do it … in 1937.

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.”