Jose Mijares is finally in Royals camp following a week-long delay due to passport issues in Venezuela.
“I waited for my passport and the embassy didn’t send it to me for 10 days,” Mijares told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com, who notes that the left-handed reliever won’t be too far behind other pitchers because he threw often during the offseason. And also because his job usually involves facing one or two batters per game.
This could be a make-or-break year for Mijares, who was so bad for the Twins last season that they surprisingly non-tendered him instead of paying him around $750,000 via arbitration. And then he got a raise anyway, signing a one-year, $925,000 deal with the Royals.
Mijares is 27 years old with a 3.16 career ERA in 154 innings, so if healthy he could be a big part of Kansas City’s bullpen.
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.”