Rather than try the rest-and-rehab route after being shut down for the season with what was initially called a “strained forearm,” Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso has opted for surgery to “re-attach a ruptured tendon to the bone.”
Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the recovery timetable is expected to be 5-7 weeks, so he’ll have plenty of time to be ready for spring training.
Alonso is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason coming off a career-worst season in which he hit just .240 with seven homers and a .682 OPS in 84 games. He’s yet to hit even 10 homers in a season, which obviously isn’t ideal at first base, but prior to this year Alonso was consistently an above-average hitter once you factor in the pitcher-friendly environment in San Diego. Presumably the Padres will stick with him for at least one more season.
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.”