MLB makes up another rule, Mets approve

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Under the old free agent system, the Mets would have gotten the Marlins’ third-round pick next summer (plus a compensation pick between the first and second rounds) for losing Jose Reyes. MLB, though, is still working through this whole draft-pick compensation thing after the new CBA, and let it be known today that the Mets will get the Marlins’ second-rounder instead.

The Marlins’ second-rounder was supposed to go to San Diego for Heath Bell. That’s because Bell placed higher than Reyes in the Elias Rankings, which, until a couple of weeks ago, had been the determining factor when it came to free agent compensation. The Marlins couldn’t lose their first-rounder since, as one of the league’s bottom 15 teams last season, that pick was protected.

Now the Padres will get a newly created pick just before the Marlins’ scheduled second-round pick as part of the compensation for Bell. The Mets are due the second-rounder…. for now anyway. There’s no word yet on what will happen if the Marlins sign Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. Previously, such a move would have knocked the Mets’ pick from the third round down to the fourth round.

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.”