Free Agent Breakdown: Kyle Schwarber

Player Breakdown

The Cubs recently decided not to bring back Kyle Schwaber in a somewhat surprising move. Schwarber was able to DH for the Cubs during the 2020 season and had his worst season yet by far. He was coming off a rather impressive 2019 campaign where he hit .250 with 38 homeruns and had an OPS+ of 122. This year, however, he hit under .200 with 11 homeruns. It was an extremely underwhelming season and the Cubs were clearly dissapointed in his work, as they decided to not bring him back, despite having a relatively cheap price tag. Schwarber was originally a top 5 pick as a catcher in 2014, and came up with a fury. He was crushing baseballs and helped the Cubs get their World Series Ring in 2016. His two biggest problems have always been his ineptitude as a left fielder and his inability to hit for average. The news of no DH in the NL (still pending) will probably make the list of teams interested in him a lot smaller, but I think a lot of teams will be willing to take the risk of bringing him in because of his crazy upside. If he doesn’t have to field and can focus more on hitting for average while also keeping his power, he could be an unbelievable buy-low opportunity for many AL teams.

The Case to Bring Him Back

As I stated before, the no universal DH rule really puts a damper on this option. I think it will still be on the table though, because Schwarber is such a perfect Chicago Cub. He is the kind of hitter that could hit two homeruns then go to the bar after the game with some fans and eat some sausages and have a beer or two. He’s a fan favorite as many Cubs fans scream “SCHWARBOOOO” every time he mashes a moonshot. I could see now that Theo’s gone, the Cubs might want to completely move on and restart with some new players, but it’s going to be weird to see Schwarber not in the Cubs blue and red. He could still help them if he can fix some of his flaws. He could be a very good cleanup hitter for the Cubs to get back to their winning ways, but my guess is, they’ve already closed the book on that chapter.

The Perfect Fits

Twins

Is there a team that loves to smash dingers and maybe cares a little less about batting average and fielding? Oh…there is? The Minnesota Twins are a well oiled homerun hitting machine. Schwarber would fit the culture there perfectly, hitting 500-foot homeruns like it’s nothing. Nelson Cruz enters free agency and who knows what he’s going to get, considering the 2020 season he just had. If he leaves, the Twins need a replacement and I think Schwarber could be that fit. Schwarber would be inserted into that lineup and immediately get opportunities to hit homeruns and drive in runs. It seems like a perfect win-win situation to me, as the Twins will get Schwarber at a much cheaper cost than Cruz, and Schwarber will be put into a lineup that might actually cherish the way he plays baseball. The Twins could also use him in the outfield (sometimes, although I’d advise against it) to become a more versatile team.

Rays

I’m a big Schwarber fan, so I wish there was a team that takes highly touted prospects who struggled to begin their careers and help them reach their full potential. Oh wait, the Rays already do this. I can see in my head, it’s mid-August and Kyle Schwarber hits his 30th homerun and is the clear favorite for comeback player of the year, and some are even saying he will be in the MVP race. This signing makes a lot of sense if you ignore that the Rays don’t really need him. It would be a great landing spot for Schwarber however, as he would be able to use their high level analytics to begin to figure out why he has struggled so much in the past and begin to try to fix those errors. I think Tampa would be a great place for Schwarber to land and continue to grow his game.

The Good Fits

Indians

The Indians are hellbent on trading Mr. Fransico Lindor. They also just lost Carlos Santana to the Royals. This means the team will need players to fill the lineup. They are also still really good team with playoff aspirations. They could bring Schwarber in to help the lineup that is going to take a huge hit this offseason. They are a team known for not being a big fan of long term contracts or spending much, so they would be getting a guy with a high ceiling for very cheap. It seems like a very Cleveland signing to buy low on a player that another team has given up on. I, in no way, see him finishing his career in Cleveland, but I think it could be a very interesting one year pit stop for Mr. Schwarber on his way to securing a long term contract, something similar to what Mike Moustakas has done.

A’s

The A’s are a team that are, like the Rays, always looking for production without spending the big bucks. Schwarber seems to fit this bill. I could see the A’s wanting to bring him in to insert him in the middle of their lineup and try to get his batting average up. The coaching and development the A’s have would be great for Schwarber and he’d also have the DH spot open to him here, although Kris Davis may have something to say bout it. I could see Schwarber going to Oakland because it is a winning organization and could be a great place for him to re-up his value. I could definitely see the fan base getting behind Schwarber too, as he is such an electric player and personality.

The Weird Fits

Yankees

I’ll start by saying this: The Yankees really do not need Schwarber. However, can you imagine him playing in that stadium? He could bunt the ball over the fence with the amount of raw power he has. I could see the Yankees wanting to add some more depth to their team to fight against the injury bug that seems to hit the Bronx every May or June. If Schwarber is okay not being an everyday player, this could be the perfect location for him to go, boost his stats, and maybe get a long-term contract the next free agency. The Yankees would be bringing in a guy who could potentially hit 50 homeruns on a cheap deal as insurance if any of their big names get hurt. Win-Win.

Mariners

The Mariners are on the up and up as we were all able to see what they were bundling in 2020. Led by young star Kyle Lewis, the Mariners have a lot working in the farm system to make them competitive soon. The Mariners really didn’t have a steady DH option in 2020 and Schwarber could fill that role very well. We have seen Nelson Cruz dominate in that stadium as a DH, so it is without a doubt that Schwarber could do the same thing. I could see the Mariners being a long-term option for Schwarber, as they would get a young player with a lot of potential and Schwarber would get some financial security. This would be a very interesting duo to see come together, and personally I’d be tuning in every night to see it.

Final Prediction

I think there is one team that makes too much sense to not bring Schwarber in and for Schwarber not to be ecstatic about going to.

Prediction: Schwarber signs with the Tampa Bay Rays for 1 year $7.5 Million.

Thank you for reading, and if you’re like me, you are hoping for a big bounce back year from the big guy Kyle Schwarber.

Side note: if the NL decides to use the DH, disregard almost all of this as his market would completely change.

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