I’ve been figuratively wrestling a literary alligator recently. There’s a term I’m looking for that isn’t quite this word, that term, or the other concept. It’s kinda close, but not really any of them. I’ve been rototilling my internal dictionary over the last week or so, and while the word or term still escapes me, I assessed a few terms in a previous effort in writing this article. Eventually, a few clouds cleared, and my Frank Schwindel 40-man roster coin flip article was resolved.
If you were to independently ask 100 knowledgable Cubs fans, defined for these purposes as both aware of the existence of the 40-man roster and of a few of the intricacies of it, whether Frank Schwindel deserves a 40-man roster spot this off-season, it shouldn’t be particularly close. Fangraphs had Schwindel at a value of over $16 million in 2022, despite being sub-zero before August started. He will be making league minimum next season, barring a non-grandfathered change in the CBA next year.
In my first attempt at this, I was trying on which axiom fit the best. Was opposing a really useful first base option more tilting at windmills, casting aspersions, or an ad hominem attack? No, as with the other wrestling match, none applied, really. People who opposed Schwindel were sometimes representing “He’s too old to be reliable” as their reason, instead of the possibly more likely “I hate Tom Ricketts and/or Jed Hoyer for not signing Anthony Rizzo to an extension.” They were pushing a narrative.
And the cliché bell finally went off.
Some people like to anonymously (or not so anonymously) hide behind spreadsheets and declare Microsoft Excel tells them effectively the future with such regularity that their opinions should be heeded. However, if the spreadsheet figured the future so well, why did Robbie Ray settle for $8 million in 2021? The smartest people in baseball have no idea what’s going to happen. Except that they’ll get blamed when they’re wrong, by people who won’t admit to their mistakes very often, at all.
If you’re incensed that Rizzo was traded? Cool. If you wanted him extended at a reasonable (or even unreasonable) year/cost intersection? I’m good with that. If you’re livid that half of the Rizzo trade return hasn’t played in full-season ball yet? Grab a number. Would it have been nice for him to played in the last game with the team before the deadline? It might have helped.
Schwindel should be assessed on Schwindel, not on some anchor some wish would be tied to him so he’d sense the grief some fans are feeling. Schwindel is part-athlete/part-entertainer. He did really well in August and September, even though some Cubs fans might have wanted him to fail over narrative-based concerns. For a player due to make roughly league minimum, whether there’s a DH in the NL or not next season, Schwindel belongs. At least until he shows he doesn’t. If you’re enraged regarding Schwindel, it seems more plausible to be ticked off at Commissioner Rob Manfred for not declaring anything on the DH, already.
Lastly, here a few video reasons for keeping Schwindel on the 40-man roster.
September 1: Frank’s three-run homer accounts for all the runs in a 3-0 win over the Twins [VIDEO].
September 3: Frank’s sixth-inning HR breaks a 5-5 tie and is the game-winner in a 6-5 win [VIDEO].
September 4: Frank dives safely into first base with a walkoff single, defeating the Pirates [VIDEO].
September 5: Frank’s grand slam erases an 8-7 deficit and helps the Cubs to an 11-8 win [VIDEO].
September 19: Frank’s RBI double breaks a 2-2 tie in Milwaukee, the Cubs go on to win [VIDEO].
September 30: Frank shows off some glove against the Pirates [VIDEO].
Should Frank Schwindel be on the Cubs’ 40-man roster in mid-December?
This poll is closed