Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda swap is finally official

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UPDATE: Montero passed his physical, so it’s now a done deal.

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The multi-player deal between the Yankees and Mariners headlined by Jesus Montero and Michael Pineda is moving closer to completion.

Montero was delayed from taking a physical due to weather, plane and visa problems in his native Venezuela, but Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the 22-year-old arrived in the United States yesterday and was en route to Seattle.

The Pacific Northwest was rocked by a pretty nasty winter storm this week, so there’s no guarantee Montero’s travel plans went off without a hitch. However, assuming no problems with his flight and scheduled physical, an official announcement could happen within the next day or two.

The deal between the Yankees and Mariners, which was agreed upon last Friday, will send Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to Seattle for Pineda and prospect right-hander Jose Campos.

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.”