MINNEAPOLIS, MN — So I’m up in the press box watching the first inning of the All-Star Game and another baseball writer — whose name I won’t reveal, but it rhymes with Schmo Emanski — suggests that maybe Adam Wainwright grooved the pitch that Derek Jeter hit for a leadoff double. It would definitely fit in with a night when everything is aimed at honoring The Captain.
But then Mike Trout tripled and Miguel Cabrera hit a homer that was not a cheapie.
Schmo: OK, maybe he’s not grooving it.
I know this is hindsight, but hindsight is an awful lot of fun when it meshes nicely with your preconceptions. So I’ll just say it: maybe Clayton Kershaw should’ve gotten the start after all?
UPDATE: Kershaw sets the American League down 1-2-3 in the second. He’s the best, folks. Maybe one day he’ll be a starter and not a reliever.
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.”