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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Baseball

Cubs reportedly unwilling to trade Kyle Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber

The Chicago Cubs are not willing to trade Kyle Schwarber, according to a report.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported on Sunday that the Cubs have received multiple trade inquiries about Schwarber but are telling teams he is not available.

Schwarber, the No. 4 overall pick in 2014, has shown huge power with 72 home runs but has only batted .228 in his MLB career. He moved from catcher to outfield, where he has not been good defensively.

Schwarber is best suited for a DH role with an American League club. We’re guessing most of the inquiries came from AL teams.

Report: Indians place high asking price on starting pitchers

Corey Kluber

Though rumors continue to fly that the Cleveland Indians will deal one of two leading starting pitchers, neither will come cheap.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the asking price on both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer is “very, very high,” though both players could be acquired for the right return.

Olney notes that the Houston Astros, who are in danger of losing Dallas Keuchel as a free agent, are interested in starting pitching and could be a potential trade partner.

Cleveland is sending some mixed signals at this point. The asking price is high, but there is motivation to make a move. Perhaps, at least for the moment, they believe they’ll be able to entice someone to give up a lot in return for one of their big arms.

Six teams reportedly interested in Manny Machado

Manny Machado

Free agent shortstop Manny Machado’s market is strong as we move toward the MLB Winter Meetings.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, six teams have registered their interest in Machado. Three of them — the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies — are known commodities. Rosenthal adds, however, that at least three other teams have voiced their preliminary interest.

While some believe they know where Machado will land, they’re all just guesses, especially with so many unknown suitors lurking. He’s exceedingly likely to get one of the two biggest deals handed out this winter, rivaling only Bryce Harper’s.

Report: Five teams aggressively pursuing JT Realmuto

JT Realmuto

Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto continues to attract wide interest across the league.

According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, five teams are most aggressively leading the charge in Realmuto trade talks, including the widely-linked New York Mets.

Realmuto has been in trade rumors for quite some time. The Mets have been widely linked to him, but they’re clearly not the only suitor. The catcher is expected to be in high demand. The .277 hitter is coming off his first 20 home run season for the Marlins, and it looks like he’ll be playing elsewhere sooner rather than later, perhaps as soon as this offseason.

Nationals not expecting to have Bryce Harper back

Bryce Harper

The Washington Nationals on Friday confirmed the belief held by many: They are not expecting to have Bryce Harper back.

Team owner Mark Lerner joined Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan on Friday, the day that the Patrick Corbin signing was announced. His interview turned to the Bryce Harper matter, and he not only said the team is not expecting Harper back, but he also said that they might not even have room for him.

“If he comes back, it’s a strong possibility that we won’t be able to make it work. But I really don’t expect him to come back at this point,” Lerner told Paulsen and Rouhier. “I think they’ve decided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leaving on the table. That’s just not [Scott Boras’] MO to leave money on the table.”

Boras is Harper’s agent, and he represents multiple Nationals players.

Lerner says the team met with Boras and Harper and presented an offer to the former NL MVP. That was reportedly for 10 years at $300 million. They told Harper and Boras that was the best they could do in order to be able to have enough money to field a competitive team.

Harper is said to be meeting with teams in free agency and hearing pitches this week. It’s unclear which team or teams may be in the lead for him, but if he turned down $300 million from the Nationals, expect Harper to cash in for more on the open market.

Paul Goldschmidt had great reason for choosing No. 46 with Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt was officially introduced as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, and the star first baseman is already winning fans over with his rationale for choosing a new jersey number.

After he wore No. 44 for many years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Goldschmidt will be switching to No. 46 in St. Louis. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, Goldschmidt chose that number simply because it was the closest one to 44 that was available. No. 45 is retired for former Cy Young winner Bob Gibson, and No. 44 is currently worn by pitcher Luke Gregerson, who threw 12.2 innings for the Cards last year and posted a 7.11 ERA.

Goldschmidt said he would never ask another player for a jersey number, which is uncommon for a veteran player in any professional sports league. He also noted that he only wore No. 44 with the Diamondbacks because it was hanging in his locker when he got there.

Goldschmidt has serious power and has belted 33 or more home runs in three of his last four seasons, but that isn’t the only thing that made him a fan favorite in Arizona. His lack of concern over what jersey number he’ll wear with his new team in an era where some guys pay massive amounts of money to keep theirs is a great example of how humble he is.

Theo Epstein implies Cubs will not be signing major free agent hitter

Theo Epstein Cubs

Comments made by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein on Thursday imply that the team will not be looking to sign one of the major free agent hitters this offseason.

Epstein spoke with reporters after the Cubs made several changes to their coaching staff. According to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Epstein talked about the offseason plans said there is “no one hitter” the Cubs are looking at that will transform the offense. He also made it seem like they will stick with their current players, believing that they are talented enough to win.

Epstein made clear after the season his dissatisfaction with former hitting coach Chili Davis, who emphasized an approach where players hit to the opposite field. Epstein preferred to have the players focus on getting the ball in the air to create home runs. In other words, they have enough good players as is, they just need to be doing what the Cubs want them to in order to see successful results.

This is a continuation of what has been the belief all along — the Cubs are unlikely to make a play for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.