Kyle Schwarber could be on the move this offseason as the Cubs look for change
The big news from the weekend is the Cubs indicated the potential for significant turnover on the roster this offseason. For fans, we know with Theo Epstein running the show, no one is considered untouchable from trade talks, but ‘significant turnover’ makes one think there could be some action this time around. Kyle Schwarber is a name that has been tossed around in trade talks over the years and this could finally be the time something comes to fruition.
With the Cubs picking up Anthony Rizzo’s option and reportedly being interested in signing Javier Baez to a long-term-deal, one wonders what ‘significant turnover could actually mean.’ When things are really broken down, Kris Bryant and Schwarber become the more realistic ‘big’ trade opportunities.
The reason I believe Schwarber is more likely to be on the move than Bryant is because of the saying ‘what have you done for me lately?’ Schwarber has shown progression while it’s been the opposite for Bryant.
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After Schwarber made his incredible comeback story in the 2016 World Series, where he miraculously returned and batted over .400 after missing almost the entire season from a leg injury, things went down before they’ve started to come up again.
In 2017, he batted a brutal .211 as he had to adjust to the quick recovery and addition of left field to his day-to-day job. He showed progression in 2018 with a .238 average and .823 OPS and he took off in 2019 where he batted .250 with 38 home runs. 2020 comes with an asterisk next to it as he hit .188 but if we count full seasons, Schwarber has improved each year since 2016.
Not only has he shown development each season, the NL is most likely going to keep the DH position in 2021. Schwarber has always been in consideration for a ‘hitting-only’ role and had been attractive to AL teams as a result. Now with the full league involved, the value only increases for the former first-round pick.
Schwarber has one year left on his contract at roughly $8 million. At 27 years old, Schwarber is cheap, has a ton of potential, could bring a decent return back and doesn’t have as many questions marks as Bryant does.
Schwarber owns a 29 percent strikeout rate in his career, above the league average of 24 percent. The Cubs, as a whole, struggle in this area and could benefit from finding a new type of player who can hit for contact in a deal for the left fielder.
Dealing Schwarber is an affordable move to make and would give the Cubs a fair return while opening up some room to sign free agents this offseason. Obviously not as much as a Bryant or Craig Kimbrel deal would but in a quest to revamp this lineup it would be a good place to start.
Schwarber is a wonderful player and teammate and as disappointing as it would be to see him depart, the Cubs would benefit in the long run if they play their cards right with the left fielder.