Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Mets have checked in with free agent reliever Fernando Rodney as well as many other relievers, hoping that prices had fallen “way down”. An executive Sherman spoke to said that he wouldn’t classify anything as “hot”.
The Mets’ bullpen is comprised of a lot of young arms, including 29-year-old closer Bobby Parnell. However, Parnell is recovering from a herniated disk his neck which knocked him out of the final two months of the 2013 season. He underwent surgery in September, but recent reports have indicated that the right-hander looks “great”. Still, it’s always good to have another option in the event Parnell can’t stay on the field or has lost effectiveness.
Rodney, who turns 37 years old on March 18, is coming off of two great seasons with the Rays. In 2012, he wound up fifth in AL Cy Young voting after he finished with a 0.60 ERA and 48 saves in 74 2/3 innings of work. Last year, he finished at 3.38 with 37 saves in 66 2/3 innings. Rodney’s strikeout rates in each of the past two seasons (27%, 28%) have both been the highest of his career.
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.”