Chicago Cubs: Finding Kyle Schwarber a home key to future of team
Where will Kyle Schwarber land for the Chicago Cubs? He’s a catcher that plays left field, and some people don’t believe he can be a catcher–and also aren’t sure about the outfield–but man can this kid hit. So what to do?
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There’s no questioning the fact that the Chicago Cubs offense is better with Kyle Schwarber in the lineup. The defense, on the other hand, has questions. But he’s a young player that flew through the system in a similar manner as this year’s NL rookie of the YearKris Bryant
. Bryant’s defense was a concern–and he was mostly playing just third base. Schwarber is–for the sake of argument–a catcher. And until he goes there or becomes a dependable corner outfielder, the Cubs offseason moves will be a concern.
Cubs’ catching coach Mike Borzello believes Schwarber has the makings of a great team leader and believes that being behind the plate gives him the best opportunity to do so. But as of now, he’s a work in progress, and the Cubs have Miguel Montero and David Ross to handle duties behind the plate for now.
“I know I’m a catcher, but I feel this is the best position for the leader to be,” Borzello said. “That’s why I think him being behind the plate would be the best thing. But we’ll see how it all plays out.”
Schwarber continues to get time in the outfield and behind the plate, and while this is difficult for Schwarber, it leaves the Cubs in a conundrum as well. Did you notice that the two free agents they signed are either playing out of position as forecasted (Jason Heyward), or are a super utility guy (Ben Zobrist) that can play about anywhere?
This is for the simple fact that the Cubs don’t have a home for Schwarber yet, and in turn, their free agency moves are somewhat skewed by this issue. No one really knows where he’ll end up, so they avoid signing guys that could be pushed out by Schwarber.
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What the Cubs did with him last season as the right move. He wasn’t ready to be a MLB catcher, but his bat was more than ready. The team needs to continue to groom him behind the plate and let him fail there before they move him elsewhere. And Craig Biggio was a “failed” catcher, so there’s plenty of hope to be had. Hopefully, the Cubs will be a little closer to an answer after Spring Training.
Some of his play in the outfield wasn’t pretty, but his bat won more games for the Cubs than his glovework lost. I’ll take that and run with it for now.