Yankees Trade Target: Outfielder Kyle Schwarber
Injured Chicago Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber may be first on Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman’s wishlist in the lead up to the August 1st trade deadline according to recent reports.
Not many teams can lose a young superstar who was expected to provide 30 homer pop in the middle of their batting order and still cruise through a season as the best in baseball. That’s exactly what the Chicago Cubs have done.
The Cubbies came into Monday at 55-36 with a healthy eight game lead in the NL Central (which was expected to be one of MLB’s toughest divisions). At 98%, they easily have the best odds to make the postseason out of any team in baseball according to FanGraphs.
Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projection system forecasted a .250/.337/.496 batting line with 32 home runs for Kyle Schwarber prior to the season. The Cubs have absorbed the loss of that production by having an endless supply of budding superstars ready to step in at a moment’s notice.
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Does the fact that they’ve succeeded this year without Schwarber make him expendable? Maybe. There have been reports that the Cubs are not willing to deal Schwarber, especially not for a reliever like the Yankees Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman. That has not stopped the rumor mill from floating the idea of a Miller for Schwarber swap every few weeks.
It’s just such a neat fit for both sides that it’s hard to let it go. A few weeks back, ESPN’s Buster Olney opined on his podcast that Schwarber was likely to end up with the Yankees despite the reports to the contrary. The truth is that the Cubs have no real place to play him next year barring an injury or trade, and Schwarber is probably most valuable to an American League club who can DH him regularly because of his defensive shortcomings.
The Cubs only real weakness if their lack of a shutdown lefty reliever. They currently have Clayton Richard and Travis Wood as southpaws in the pen, but does Chicago really want them facing Bryce Harper in a key situation during October?
While acquiring Miller for Schwarber would provide a huge boost for the Cubs’ chances in 2016, it wouldn’t be some short-sighted win-now move. With two years of control remaining at a below-market, Andrew Miller is no rental. He’s a guy who could be just as valuable to the Cubs over the next few years as Schwarber.
As for the Yankees, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking recently told Yahoo’s Jeff Passan that Schwarber is on the top of GM Brian Cashman’s list of priority, and that “Cash thinks he can hit 50 home runs there.”
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With Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira departing after the season, the 2017 Yankees will be sorely lacking in the power department unless they do something to address the middle of the lineup. Penciling Kyle Schwarber in alongside youngsters Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez would give Yankees fans something to look forward to next season.