While making an appearance at a school in Harlem to promote literary R.A. Dickey gave an update on his contract talks with the Mets, saying that “the pace is slow” and reiterating that he won’t continue to negotiate once the season begins.
Dickey is under contract for $5 million in 2013 and has said all along that he won’t talk in-season, making it clear that he’d like to get an extension worked out sooner than later. He also noted that he thought talks would proceed more quickly based on what general manager Sandy Alderson said early in the offseason.
“We have until spring training, but I would think they would formulate some kind of plan so they can know what they can do forthcoming,” Dickey said, via Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. “They have offered and we have countered. That’s kind of the stage that we’re in. We’re hoping to hear back from them soon and get the dialogue going again.”
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.”