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Frank Schwindel appears headed to play for NPB’s Orix Buffaloes

The former Cubs first baseman’s going to Japan.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Cubs claimed Frank Schwindel on waivers from the A’s in July 2021 and then installed him at first base after Anthony Rizzo (and others) were traded at that year’s deadline in the big selloff.

Schwindel went on to have a fantastic third of a season for the Cubs, batting 342/.389/.613 with 13 home runs in 56 games. It was enough for 1.8 bWAR (suggesting a 5 bWAR season in a full year) and sixth place in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Largely due to a back injury that never seemed to heal, Schwindel’s numbers declined in 2022 and he hit just .229/.277/.358 with eight home runs in 75 games. The Cubs released him in September.

I had thought that Schwindel, who is now 30, might be able to catch on with a team in Japan’s NPB major league, and that appears to be exactly what’s happening:

This would seem to be the perfect landing spot for Schwindel. Former MLB players of his type who go over there tend to do well against the pitching in Japan, which isn’t quite as good as MLB pitching. I’d think if healthy, Schwindel could put up a couple of 30-homer seasons over there and perhaps position himself to come back to MLB.

If not, his outgoing personality and friendly nature should make him a popular fan favorite in Japan. I mean, who wouldn’t love this face?

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

And he’ll always have this walkoff hit, from September 2021:

Presuming this signing is made official, all the best to Frank Schwindel, who gave us a few fun moments to remember in a down season in 2021.

Hopefully, there will be a few Cubs moves to discuss later today.