In an effort to keep Evan Longoria in the lineup and off the disabled list after aggravating the plantar fasciitis in his right foot the Rays will use the third baseman at designated hitter.
Longoria missed three games with a tear in his foot, returning Tuesday at DH, and told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune:
If I can be in the lineup and be effective offensively, then that’s, obviously, more important than trying to do two things at once and not being able to do either one of them effectively. I’m happy at where I’m at considering the circumstances. Happy that I’m at least able to be in the lineup. We’ll take it day-by-day as far as where we are playing the field.
Not exactly encouraging words, although he’s certainly right that Longoria at DH is better than Longoria on the DL. Kelly Johnson and Ryan Roberts figure to split time at third base and using Longoria at DH means less playing time for Luke Scott.
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.”