Chicago Cubs: Looking at the team’s non-tender candidates

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Kyle Schwarber / Chicago Cubs
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Chicago Cubs will either non-tender or trade Kyle Schwarber

You always felt that Kyle Schwarber was relatively safe under the watch of Theo Epstein. The former Cubs president of baseball operations was openly a fan of the former first-rounder, but with his future now in the hands of Jed Hoyer, things could be different.

MLBTR projects Schwarber for a $7.9 million salary in his final pass through the arbitration process. It seems likely Chicago works out a trade for the former Indiana University standout, but if all else fails, don’t be surprised to see the Cubs non-tender him ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline.

Just a year ago, non-tendering Schwarber would have been unthinkable. After all, he stole the show in the second half of 2019, teaming up with Nicholas Castellanos to give the Cubs a deadly one-two punch in the outfield. Down the stretch, he belted 20 home runs and slashed .280/.366/.631 – a dramatic improvement on his career marks.

But he fell back into old habits this season, hitting the ball hard but having little to show for it. His .188 average, simply put, didn’t get it done – despite his ranking in the top five percent of hitters in average exit velocity.

The offense needs to have a different look moving forward and Schwarber’s departure could be one way the Cubs make that happen this offseason.