Mike Moustakas almost has an offseason BINGO

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We already heard that Mike Moustakas has lost weight and may be in the Best Shape of His Life. Now we hear that he’s been working on his swing, trying to learn to take the ball the other way. Use that third base/left field side.

Good for him! Hope he improves because a productive Mike Moustakas would go a long way toward helping the Royals improve on their 86-win season and a contending Royals team would probably be pretty fun. Sort of like Pittsburgh last season. I sorta want to see that.

But it’s also possible that this is just your standard offseason cliche. Getting in shape. Working on my swing. If we see a story about him working with some respected former major leaguer or having offseason workouts with some other player on another team, we will have pretty much filled Moustakas’ offseason hitters BINGO card.

Pitchers BINGO cards have “working on my changeup” and “working on my arm slot” to go with BSHOL, by the way.

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.”