I know the bulk of you who read these morning posts don’t watch many Mariners games because of the tyranny of time zones, but I feel like it’s worth pointing out that the M’s are now 16-15 and sit in second place in the AL West.
They’ve done this by winning four straight games and nine of 11 overall. The freakiest part of that nine of 11 thing? Both of the losses in that stretch came during Felix Hernandez starts.
Three of those nine wins came against Houston and, no, beating Houston is not exactly a big resume piece. But the others have come against Texas (two wins) New York (two wins) and Oakland (two wins). They’ve averaged 5.72 runs a game in that span. Overall the M’s offense has not been insanely good, but it has been good by their own recent standards.
And, for the entire season they’re averaging more runs per game than the Yankees and Red Sox. Which, however flukey and early it is, is kind of fun.
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.”