Report: Red Sox showing interest in Kyle Schwarber

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Giancarlo Stanton‘s trade to the Yankees on Saturday, while still unofficial as of Sunday morning, sent ripple effects through the rest of the league. Those who didn’t manage to trade for the Marlins’ slugger (or two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, for that matter) appear to be kicking the tires on every other viable player, as is the nature of the Hot Stove season. Scott Lauber of ESPN Boston reports that the Red Sox have expressed interest in Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber, whom they envision as a strong asset at DH.

Schwarber, 24, completed his third run with the Cubs in 2017. After missing all but two games of the 2016 season while recovering from knee surgery, he bounced back with a .211/.355/.487 batting line and a career-best 30 home runs and .256 ISO in 486 plate appearances. While he has yet to return to the .293-BABIP, 1.8-fWAR ways of his rookie campaign, Lauber notes that Schwarber remains a favorite of club president Theo Epstein, which presumably makes any trade a difficult one.

The Red Sox don’t appear to have made a formal offer for Schwarber, and it’s not yet clear whether the Cubs would even listen to a trade proposition involving their former top-5 prospect. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat offers this insight from Epstein:

[Schwarber] has got certain toughness and leadership qualities that are hard to find that we don’t necessarily have in surplus and in abundance in the clubhouse,” Epstein said. “He has a certain energy and grit and ability to bring people together, and that’s important. The biggest thing is his bat. We think he’s the type of offensive player who you build around along with a couple other guys.

Assuming the Cubs would ask for a substantial return for the outfielder/backup catcher, the Red Sox may not have much to offer in a deal. Per Lauber’s report, Boston depleted most of their farm system depth to get big names like Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel and others, and may not have enough left in the tank to convince the already-reluctant Cubs to part with one of their favorite players.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.