LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The more time that passes, the less it seems likely the Cubs will trade away Kyle Schwarber.
(Feel free to bookmark this story and rub it in my face if a surprise deal gets done with Schwarber this winter.)
When America's Now-Not-So-Large Adult Son showed up to the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort Tuesday, it was easy to see how fans could run rampant with speculation that it may mean he's at the Winter Meetings for a physical or a meeting with another team or anything that could mean a trade is right around the corner.
Jed Hoyer waved that notion off in his meeting with the media in the Cubs suite Tuesday evening.
Schwarber did meet with Hoyer and Theo Epstein for about a half hour, though the Cubs GM joked the slugger's sudden emergence at baseball's hottest offseason gathering was probably more to show off his new chiseled physique.
America's Not-so-large Adult Son: pic.twitter.com/6LNYKtTswp— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) December 13, 2017
"Oh, no question," Hoyer said. "There's been a lot of videos out there. He's proud of himself. He's not hiding. He's bummed it's not a little warmer."
Schwarber has kind of a mytical aura around him as a name that instantly engenders a reaction from fans regarding a variety of topics from his weight loss to him leading off to trade rumors to his 2017 struggles or his epic return from a devastating knee injury to play World Series hero.
His Midwest upbringing and blue-collar style resonates perfectly with much of the Chicago fanbase. He clearly also has some staunch supporters within the Cubs organization, from teammates to coaches to front office members to scouts.
To put it simply: The Cubs f--king love the dude.
"He knows how we feel about him," Hoyer said Tuesday.
Epstein admitted Monday there was a lot of interest in Schwarber this winter (his name keeps popping up in Red Sox rumors), though that's not out of the ordinary.
"He's always been somebody teams have interest in," Epstein said. "But we probably have the most interest."
These are just the latest in a long line of public endorsements from Cubs personnel on Schwarber.
The Cubs know Schwarber can handle the trade rumors, in part because this should be old hat for him. He's been linked to AL teams as a DH option for years.
It's also gotta help fuel the Schwarber fire within the Cubs that he's lost 25ish pounds, which will help improve his speed and defense.
"I feel like best shape of their lives becomes this cliche or joke," Hoyer said. "But he actually is. He looks awesome.
"I think Kyle in general is a guy that when you talk to him, he kinda motivates you. I mean, he's so passionate, takes everything so seriously. So Theo and I just sat down with him for like a half an hour and it's hard not to want to play right now listening to him.
"He didn't feel great about his  season, he probably didn't feel great about how he felt all year and give him credit —- he did something about it. It's so obvious when you look at him what great shape he's in.
"I love the fact that he drove over here, in some ways, just to show it off. I don't blame him. I probably would, too."