Kyle Schwarber
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Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

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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.”

Video: Aristides Aquino becomes fastest player to 10 home runs in MLB history

Aristides Aquino
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There’s no two ways about it: Aristides Aquino is having a rookie year for the ages. The hot-hitting Reds outfielder tacked another item onto his already lengthy list of accomplishments on Friday, clubbing a two-run, 396-foot home run off of Adam Wainwright in the sixth inning of the Reds’ 13-4 loss to the Cardinals.

The blast came far too late in the game to upset the Cardinals’ nine-run lead, but was otherwise perfectly timed for the rookie. It marked his 10th career home run in just 16 major-league games, officially making him the fastest MLB player to 10 homers in league history. (On a less-thrilling note, it was also the first home run allowed by the Cardinals in 32 2/3 consecutive innings.)

So far in 2019, Aquino is batting a robust .353/.400/.961 with 11 extra-base hits, 19 RBI, a 1.361 OPS, and 0.8 fWAR through 55 plate appearances. Friday’s feat follows other impressive performances from the 25-year-old, who collected three homers against the Cubs last Saturday and tied Trevor Story‘s previously unbeaten record for most homers through his first 10 career games. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon adds that Aquino’s torrid home run pace also eclipsed the standing record held by the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins, who delivered nine home runs through his first 16 career games in 2017 (per Elias).