The Yankees potentially trading for Kyle Schwarber has popped up yet again. However, as much as the Bombers could use a left-handed power bat, Schwarber would likely become another DH in the Bronx — and the club already has enough of those.
The possibility of Kyle Schwarber to the Yankees first came about in 2016, but the Cubs eventually settled on sending Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren and two other prospects to New York for closer Aroldis Chapman.
Less than four years later, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cubs and Yanks are at it again — discussing parameters of a potential trade (that likely won’t happen).
The Yankees’ interest in Schwarber is not new; they have been talking to the Cubs about him since at least 2016, sources said. The nature of the latest conversations also is not new. The teams are talking, yes, but again that’s all it is — talk.
Even though Schwarber had torn his ACL in 2016, limiting him to just two games, general manager Brian Cashman loved the idea of Schwarber swatting high fly balls into the short right-field porch.
Since returning from major knee surgery, Schwarber, 26, has played an increasing amount of games for the Cubs, including a career-high 155 in 2019. And it just so happened that he had his best professional season-to-date in 2019, slashing .250/.339/.531 with 38 home runs and 92 RBIs.
While Schwarber has indeed played 431 career games in left field, including 140 last year, he led the National League with six errors and had the lowest fielding percentage of all MLB left-fielders at .974.
Yes, his seven assists were an NL best in ’19, his 214 putouts ranked him second, and a 1.58 Range Factor Per Game placed him fifth; however, Schwarber is anything but fleet-of-foot, and left-field at Yankee Stadium is far bigger than the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. More space equals more potential for trouble, a la Clint Frazier.
So to the crowd that claims that Giancarlo Stanton shouldn’t own a glove — would you feel comfortable with Schwarber patrolling left-field?
For me, Schwarber would have made sense if the Yankees either didn’t have Stanton on the payroll for eight more years — or decided once and for all to make Stanton the everyday left fielder.
Therefore, if Schwarber were to struggle in Yankee Stadium’s outfield, the club would have severely weakened its defense and further created logjam at designated hitter.
And another thing, can we stop speculating that a player can man first base because they are big and can hit? Schwarber came up through the Cubs organization as a catcher and has played first base precisely one time in his professional career back in 2017.
It’s bad enough that the Yankees don’t have a legitimate Gold Glove-caliber first baseman — and no, D.J. LeMahieu doesn’t count, as he’s moving back to his typical second base following the loss of Didi Gregorius.
While Luke Voit is slowly getting better around the bag, and Mike Ford has yet to prove himself at the big league level truly, Miguel Andujar, nor Stanton or Schwarber are ready to pick up a first base mitt — so let’s squash any notion of that right now.
Entering his second year of arbitration, Schwarber is slated to earn $8 million in 2020. And while the Cubs are eager to shed the increasing salary of their young players, they’d likely want a sizeable return for their left-fielder.
Adding Schwarber’s left-handed stick to the Yankee lineup would provide plenty of power and break up the glut of righty’s, but strikeouts would also be the order of the day, as he’s averaged 173 K’s per 162 games, including 156 in 2019. So no, Schwarber to the Yankees is unlikely to happen, and that’s OK.