Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber wants to prove his doubters wrong

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Anytime a trade rumor pops up, Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber’s name gets tossed in. When it’s an American League team, especially. But he’s out to prove everyone wrong, and he’s capable of doing it.

There’s a big difference between just losing weight and getting in prime playing shape. The Chicago CubsKyle Schwarber has been hard at work this offseason. On his diet, his defense and his swing. The swing doesn’t need that much work. He just needs to make contact more often. But to be an MVP or a Gold Glove outfielder? He must be kidding, right? No. He’s not.

When Schwarber says these things, it’s not lip service. He believes it. But who’s going to tell him he can’t? He blew his knee out in the first week of the 2016 season, then returned for the last week to be the hero (Ben Zobrist was MVP, but based on sheer determination? It was Schwarber.)

"“I’m training my body for 162 games times nine innings or maybe more. I want to be an MVP. I want to be a Gold Glover. I want to set my standards really high.” h/t Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer"

Awareness of who he is, and doesn’t want to be anymore

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The prevailing thought is that he can’t play the field. The outfield, at least. His -9 runs saved would support that train of thought. Anyone that believes he can play the outfield and do anything for the Cubs is just being “sentimental,” aren’t they?

"“As soon as that season ended, I wanted to do everything in my power not to have the feeling that I had this past year,” said Schwarber."

Of course, most people will point to Jason Heyward and his season as he went to work–just like Schwarber–right after the season ended to improve his game.

And Heyward already IS a Gold Glover. He just needed to fix his swing. The jury is still out on that after a slight improvement over his 2016 numbers. So expecting Schwarber to become more than a good fielder–but a great one? That has to be an impossible task, or is it?

Back to where he started–the gridiron

Yo Murphy, a former NFL player, has taken Schwarber as his pupil. He knows how far he can hit a baseball. Now it’s about developing speed, agility and quickness to the ball. Everyone says that defense can’t be taught. It’s something you either have or have not. But I don’t fully believe that. Neither does Murphy.

"Everything about him I want to be quick. He’ll be as strong as he needs to be to hit a baseball far the rest of his life. Now you focus on quickness and position to the ball.”"

No more crutch

Last spring, Schwarber had the knee brace on. It was the one he said he’d likely have to wear for the rest of his career. The weight loss has created less stress on his surgically repaired knee. And Murphy felt like it was a crutch for him. “Anything you put on his body hinders (his swing) that.”

From the start, I’ve been on Schwarber’s side. When people wanted to trade him, I spoke out for him. My voice is just one of many that gets lost in the world of Cubs Nation. But I don’t believe that we’ve seen the best of him. As he works to get leaner, stronger and faster–the plays he now clumsily dives for might land right in his mitt.

Next: What does 2017 hold for Grimm?

It’s another year for Schwarber. He has a Gold Glove right fielder in Heyward, and a pretty darn good one with Albert Almora in centerfield. He can pick their brains for info. Where to position himself, how to attack the ball, etc.  And you can be sure that he will.

It’s best you don’t try to tell Schwarber he can’t do something. He might just go and prove you wrong. Bad for you. Good for the rest of Cubs’ fans.