It’s not nice to kick a team while it’s (sorta) down, but boy, oh boy could the Chicago Cubs use the offensive services of Kyle Schwarber right now. With many of their stars mired in slumps, their former teammate and friend has been radioactive since being moved to the leadoff spot in Washington.
You got me. I’d be the first to tell you I was and still am one of Schwarber’s biggest fans and defenders, even in his lowest lows. And, the lovable slugger certainly has his share of lows on the North Side, especially the final month of the most shortened 2020 campaign.
That being said, pretty much no one hits the ball harder or farther, and without modern shifting and analytics, people would probably think a little bit differently about the big guy. When he’s hot, he’s been known to have monster games and be able to do just about anything with a 34″ Louisville Slugger. Heck, the guy has myriad games and shots that pretty much all baseball fans remember.
Chicago Cubs fans would love to have this Kyle Schwarber back
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Cubs fans surely remember Kyle Schwarber Day in Milwaukee on July 28, 2019 when the big guy hit two bombs and had seven RBI. They also remember the ball Schwarber hit on top of the new right field scoreboard against the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS. All baseball fans probably recall the Wild Card bomb into the Allegheny off Gerritt Cole in that same year. Of course, all of those moments pale in comparison to his Willis Reed-esque performance coming back in just seven months from catastrophic knee injury to DH in Cleveland during the 2016 World Series.
Alas, the Schwarbino no longer dons the blue pinstripes as the Cubs unceremoniously non-tendered him and let him go, making him a free agent a year before they had to this past fall. While the Cubs and Jed Hoyer weren’t willing to pay for the Cubs’ World Series hero, the Nationals decided the slugger was worth the chance and snatched him up in the offseason to be their everyday left fielder.
Ask Nats fans how that’s worked out so far this season, as they’ve been treated to a series of dramatic moments already, including leadoff home runs, a three home run game, and multiple walk-off bombs. Heck, we’re still only in June. Since being moved to the leadoff spot on June 8 (yeah, apparently Dave Martinez was unfazed by mentor Joe Maddon’s unsuccessful attempt at that), all Schwarber has done is slashed a ridiculous .318/.385/.932.
As you can tell from that slugging percentage, he’s been hitting some long balls. Okay, a lot of long balls. The guy has nine bombs in the last 12 days, and has hit a leadoff home run in four of 10 games since. The Cubs sure could have used those the past couple weeks, right?
Granted, the Cubs replacement for Schwarber, Joc Pederson, has basically been a clone who has enjoyed nearly the same impressive hot streak of late, but with the anemic offense the past couple weeks, it’s hard not to look at their old pal and wonder for a few seconds about what could have been. Hey, maybe the Nats struggle over the next month and send him and Max Scherzer to the Cubs for the second half of the season. Thoughts, Jed?