San Jose land deal for potential new A’s ballpark being investigated

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Via Ballpark Digest, we learn that someone thinks that the land transferred by the city of San Jose for potential use for an A’s ballpark was illegal:

The transfer of land destined for a new San Jose ballpark is officially being reviewed by California Controller John Chiang to determine whether it was done legally. California municipalities were warned in early 2011 that assets of city and county redevelopment agencies would be transferred to the state in order to balance the budget. For the most part, that indeed happened … but San Jose created a separate Diridon Development Authority and transferred the land there.

If this is found to have violated the 2011 order, the land would have to be returned to the state, rendering it ineligible to be used for a ballpark.

Eh, call me cynical, but I think this is the best sign that the A’s may move there we’ve seen in years.  I mean, when was the last time one of these ballpark schemes were accomplished without questionable nonsense going on? This just shows they’re serious, right?

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.”