On Wednesday night, 56 players joined the free agents pool when their teams did not offer them, and Kyle Schwarber was one of the group’s headliners. Schwarber was the fourth overall pick in the Project in 2014, stormed Myors with a strong debut just one year later and helped the Cubs
On Wednesday night, 56 players joined the pool of free agents when their teams did not offer them, with
Schwarber was the fourth overall pick in the 2014 Draft, invading Myors with a strong debut just one year later and helping the Cubes overcome their most scandalous drought in the 201
Schwarber is now available on the open market, with Chicago choosing to part with the “legend of the cubes,” which was a last-time arbitrage and an increase of about $ 7 million.
Apart from the financial aspect of the decision, Schwarber has become a rather limited player. His defense on the left is suspicious, with his -29 appearances above the average since 2017, for Statcast, which ranks fifth lowest among MLB outside players. This may make Schwarber more attractive as a DH, but National League clubs like the Cubs still don’t know for sure if they’ll be able to use it in 2021. Schwarber’s propensity to strike, a .230 career average (.188 last year) and .650 career OPS against leftists are also concerns.
Schwarber, on the other hand, is a walking machine, has historically crushed rights (.859 OPS), ranks 22nd in MLB in homers since 2017 (105) and even had a 95 percent yield last year. His screening on Steamer for 2021? Line .239 / .346 / .500 (116 wRC +) with 34 homers in 132 games. This kind of different kick will intrigue the teams, even if it will fill the strength of the left field and / or DH platoon.
So, with all that in mind, here are seven teams that Schwarber could be suitable for – not to mention the dice that could still sign him again. For the purposes of this exercise, we keep the universal DH in play for 2021, but the NL clubs on the list may want to see this happen before committing. The teams are listed in alphabetical order.
In recent years, we have seen several other outside players move between Chicago and St. Louis (Jason Hayward, Dexter Fowler), and perhaps Schwarber may follow suit. The Cardinals could certainly use a shake-up to their squad after another astounding offensive season in which the club had little firepower on the left side of the board (.358 SLG). The exterior picture remains a bit crowded at Bush Stadium, so having DH in 2021 would make that easier.
You may have heard that Indians need an insult (and this is before the potential trade of Francisco Lindor). Last season, Cleveland ranked 26th in the Majors in swimming and isolated power and 27th in the Homers and wRC +. The club’s outside field was a particular problem, beating a .196 / .270 / .304 team with 11 homers – the same number Schwarber hit alone. Cleveland, on the other hand, already have essentially a full-time DH with his teammate Franmil Reyes, which means Schwarber is likely to see most of his playing time on the field.
The Seattle offense was generally cool in 2020 and the left field was no exception (.218 / .276 / .346). Five different players started at least eight games there during the 60-game season, and the position remains unresolved pending the arrival of the best potential, Jared Kelenik. (Right-back Mitch Haniger is also a question mark after missing all last season). Schwarber could bring much-needed power to Seattle by initially completing the field and could slide to DH when Kelenik is ready, or become a commercial bait if the club doesn’t fight.
As Miami makes its first postseason since 2003 this year, there is no doubt that the club needs to improve if it is to reach October again. The Marlins took fewer left-hand appearances than all but two MLB teams in 2020 and tied last time with 12 left-handers. Schwarber would change that dynamic, but it so happens that the only left-hander who is clearly branded for starting work in 2021 is left-winger Corey Dickerson. This makes it less ideal, but Miami can still find a way to make it work. Obviously, this work becomes much easier if the universal DH is in operation.
Washington’s squad is getting thinner after Juan Soto and Trea Turner. Schwarber brings his own uncertainty after 0.701 OPS from last season, but he will add quite offensive twists to the mix, while blending well with the club’s needs. The nationals have an obvious opening in the left field – Andrew Stevenson is currently with a pencil there – not to mention at the beginning and DH (if any). Schwarber could help the Nats’ quest to return to October after last season’s hangover.
The fact that they also did not auction a strong striking left-back player with defensive problems (Eddie Rosario) may suggest that the twins will not turn around and take Schwarber. On the other hand, Schwarber has remarkable advantages over Rosario in the degree of career walking (13.0% to 4.7%) and OBP (.336 to .310), which can make him more attractive. With Nelson Cruz, who is also a free agent, Minnesota may simply turn to prospects like Alex Cyril, Brent Rucker and Trevor Larnach to fill those gaps, but Schwarber’s bat will bring a little more proven thunder to Bomb’s squad.
They should always be involved in the discussion of a remarkable free agent, especially a left-hander, who will be able to aim at the short porch of Yankee Stadium. And the Yankees could actually hold out to add a big left-handed bat to a very right-wing lineup. The problem is to understand how the pieces of the puzzle come together, given the presence of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Gadgets, Luke Voight, Clint Fraser and Gary Sanchez on the list. In other words, the addition of Schwarber will probably have to be paired with trading with one of those serious hits. (Just one example: Frazier in exchange for filing aid).
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.