After six seasons, Kyle Schwarber and the Chicago Cubs have officially divorced.
Chicago non-tendered Schwarber, the former No. 4 overall pick and a home run-mashing outfielder, earlier this week. Schwarber is coming off a difficult 2020 season, but he will play all of next season at age 28 and hit 38 home runs in 2019.
Barring an unexpected reunion with the Cubs, Schwarber may want to turn his attention to the New York Yankees and see if he can take advantage of a stint in the Bronx.
Kyle Schwarber flashed at times in Chicago
The 4th overall pick in 2014, Kyle Schwarber reached the major leagues in June 2015.
Schwarber hit .246 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs across 69 games as a rookie. The 22-year-old slugger added five playoff home runs and appeared bound for stardom.
A torn ACL in his left knee kept Schwarber out for most of the 2016 season, but he returned for the World Series and hit .412 with a double and two RBIs in five games. Schwarber also drew three walks in 20 plate appearances.
Schwarber spent the next few years as a traditional home run-or-strikeout player, mashing 94 home runs and striking out 446 times in 421 games from 2017-19.
The rumored juiced ball benefited Schwarber greatly in 2019 when he hit .250 with a career-high 38 home runs in 155 games.
The Chicago Cubs non-tendered Schwarber
Like many other players, Kyle Schwarber struggled in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Schwarber hit .188 with 11 home runs, 24 RBIs, and 66 strikeouts against 30 walks in 59 games. Chicago opted not to tender Schwarber a contract, making him a free agent at age 27.
Schwarber tweeted a note where he thanked the city of Chicago and the Cubs organization for his time there.
“It was an absolute pleasure to go out there everyday and grind with the fellas for you guys and I’m forever grateful for my teammates, coaches, staff, and the fans. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart! Until we meet again.”
Schwarber will play the entire 2021 season at 28 years old — his birthday is March 5 — and he has experience in the outfield, catching, and at designated hitter.
The New York Yankees should sign Kyle Schwarber
Although he is coming off a rocky 2020 season, Kyle Schwarber could be a wanted man in free agency.
If the New York Yankees can do some roster manipulation, they make the most sense to sign Schwarber. The Yankees could add Schwarber on a one-year contract, otherwise known as a prove-it deal, and see how he fares with the short porch at Yankee Stadium.
According to Baseball-Reference, Schwarber made $12 million with the Cubs. The Yankees likely wouldn’t offer him that much on a one-year deal, but he also shouldn’t expect to receive nothing in salary.
It would be interesting to see how the Yankees make space for Schwarber. Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit are expected to split time at designated hitter, and Stanton’s contract makes him virtually untradeable.
Could the Yankees trade Voit elsewhere and move Schwarber to first base? Schwarber has played there in the past, and he could also see action in the outfield on other days.
The Yankees could also put Schwarber in left field and have him platoon with Clint Fraizer, a right-handed hitter. It may make more sense for the Yankees to keep Fraizer a starter, however.
The Yankees have not re-signed veteran outfielder Brett Gardner, who is the team’s longest-tenured player. If the Yankees sign Schwarber, that may be the end for Gardner, 37, in a Yankees uniform.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.