As expected, Kyle Schwarber has declined his mutual option for the 2022 season. He’s now a free agent but the Red Sox can still negotiate with him before other teams jump in on Sunday.— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) November 5, 2021
I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that the non-tender of Kyle Schwarber by the Cubs last winter was a colossal mistake. Schwarber was projected to get around $8 million in arbitration and Jed Hoyer & Co. decided that was too much, so they let him go and signed Joc Pederson instead, paying Pederson $7 million. So now, for all that, the Cubs have Bryce Ball and Pederson has a World Series ring.
Meanwhile, Schwarber signed a one-year deal with the Nationals for $7 million with a mutual option for 2022 for $11.5 million with a $3 million buyout. With the mutual option declined, Schwarber wound up making $10 million for his one year combined with the Nats and Red Sox, and as noted in the tweet, is now a free agent.
Schwarber had the best year of his career in 2021, hitting .266/.374/.554 with 32 home runs — in just 113 games, as he missed significant time with a hamstring injury. At one point in 2021 while still with the Nats, he went on an unbelievable run where he hit .354/.411/1.046 (1.457 OPS!) with 15 home runs in just 17 games. Fully recovered from the hamstring injury (he was actually traded while still on the IL), he hit a bit better in Boston (.291/.435/.522 in 41 games) than he did in Washington (.253/.340/.570 in 72 games).
This is the sort of thing we had always hoped Schwarber would do with the Cubs.
And now, perhaps, he could do it again.
Schwarber wasn’t a great left fielder, but he was competent, and had a pretty good arm. He began playing first base in Boston out of necessity and frankly, had his moments when he wasn’t very good. But I would not have any doubt he could make himself a competent first baseman if he worked at it. Schwarber’s work ethic has always been one of his best qualities.
The real position the Cubs could sign Schwarber for is DH, presuming we have the universal DH in 2022 (and I believe that will, in fact, happen). He could play occasional defense while being the Cubs’ primary DH. Bringing him back would certainly be popular with the fanbase, although Jed & Co. wouldn’t do it for that reason — they’d do it because he is a really good hitter and could help the team now and into the future.
Schwarber will turn 29 in March and, given his big 2021 season, could possibly be this type of hitter for five years. It will be costly — but perhaps a big payoff. I’m thinking somewhere in the range of five years, $90 million to reunite with the Cubs.
Who says no?
This poll is closed
... the Cubs should sign him to a deal like the one proposed in the article
... the Cubs should sign him, but it will take more years and/or dollars
... too much. Pass
Something else (leave in comments)