Andrew Friedman
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Dodgers won’t hire general manager this offseason

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The Dodgers aren’t planning on bringing a new general manager into the organization before 2019, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman said Friday. According to Pedro Moura of The Athletic, Friedman described the last month as ‘too chaotic’ and indicated that the club had numerous staffing changes to make before handing the reins over to someone new.

It’s only been a month since former general manager Farzan Zaidi jumped ship for a new role as President of Baseball Operations for the longtime rival Giants. Within Zaidi’s four-year tenure in Los Angeles, the Dodgers produced five NL West championships and two National League pennants, falling just short of their seventh and eighth championships in back-to-back World Series losses against the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox. The analytics-driven GM was also instrumental in strengthening the club’s farm system — ranked among the ten best MLB farm systems from 2015 to 2018 — and banked on homegrown talent to carry the team to postseason after postseason.

When rumors surfaced of the GM change this past month, Friedman’s initial comments suggested that he had no intention of trying to outbid the Giants for Zaidi’s services or putting pressure on the general manager to stick around any longer than he was comfortable with. As Zaidi helps restructure the Giants’ impending rebuild, the Dodgers will apparently keep chugging along with Friedman and the rest of his staff until someone better (if there is, in fact, someone better) comes along.

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.”