Rays minor leaguer David Wendt suspended 50 games

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David Wendt, a Double-A catcher in the Rays’ farm system, has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for Methylhexaneamine.

Several other minor leaguers have been suspended for Methylhexaneamine during the past year, including Blue Jays first-round pick Marcus Stroman.

Here’s what Liam Casey of the Toronto Star wrote about the drug at the time of Stroman’s suspension:

Methylhexaneamine can be found in popular training supplements sold at nutritional and drug stores. While it’s chemically related to amphetamines, it’s only slightly more powerful than a cup of coffee, according to Greg Wells, a kinesiology professor at the University of Toronto who has educated Olympic athletes on doping rules.

“It’s a short-acting stimulant, but it’s not something that we need to hang this guy up for anything like that,” Wells said. “It’s not a big deal.”

Wendt is a non-prospect as a 26-year-old who’s hit just .235 with a .597 OPS in four seasons as a pro, but he probably thinks having to sit out two months is a big deal.

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.”