The Chicago Cubs reportedly optioned outfielder Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A on Thursday morning, hoping to give him a clean slate after badly struggling.
According to David Kaplan of CSN Chicago, the Chicago Cubs are making a long-overdue move. The team reportedly optioned struggling outfielder Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa after nearly three months of prolonged offensive woes.
Schwarber, still in just his first full big-league season, owns a .196/.327/.522 slash-line in the month of June. What’s even more disappointing is the fact that this is actually better than his overall 2017 line of .171/.295/.378. Since Opening Night, he’s been woeful at the dish in almost every way.
Kaplan emphasized that the demotion is not expected to be permanent – or even lengthy. The move makes a lot of sense, though, for the reigning World Series champs. The team’s offense, which has performed considerably worse than last year, can’t afford dead weight at this point.
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And, make no mistake. For the most part, Schwarber has been just that.
He’s made a lot of soft contact, failing to drive the ball as he did in his 2015 rookie campaign – or even in last year’s World Series, where he ascended to the role of Cubs’ folklore. After missing essentially the entire regular season and undergoing knee surgery, Schwarber batted an unthinkable .412/.500/.471.
If the young slugger can find his form again, his rejoining the team as his former self would be comparable to a blockbuster trade deadline deal come July. In the meantime, Chicago turns its focus back to the big-league roster.
To fill an outfield void, the team taps an unproven asset in Mark Zagunis.
Ready to make his mark in Chicago
Just this week, the former third-round pick talked to the Des Moines Register about his recent hot stretch, which likely factored into the call-up.
"“I’m confident in my game,” Zagunis said. “You have to be confident in your game. I feel like I can compete up there.”"
On the year, the young outfielder owns a .249 batting average, but draws walks in roughly 20 percent of his trips to the plate. He’s known as a solid defensive outfielder, as well. A career .288 hitter, Zagunis battled injuries earlier this year but recently started driving the ball all over the diamond – a promising sign.
Chicago also placed Jason Heyward on the 10-day disabled list with his hand injury. Ben Zobrist could return in the near-future, giving the Cubs another outfield option. In the meantime, expect to see Ian Happ, Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant all get reps.