Yankees have much better options than Kyle Schwarber at massive cost


The Yankees could’ve done better than Kyle Schwarber, at that rate.

In one of the first semi-surprising moves of a stagnant offseason, Yankees target/White Whale Kyle Schwarber walked to the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t sign in New York; the front office remains under lock and key thanks to DJ LeMahieu.

But it was surprising that, in an offseason where nobody’s getting paid much of anything, Schwarber parlayed a hot market into $10 million for his singular year as Washington’s starting left fielder (or, rather, $7 million this year, coupled with a $3 million buyout if the two sides don’t pick up an $11 million mutual option for 2022). Not only does this seem like an expensive deal in this market, but it’s $3 million more than Schwarber was slated to make in Chicago, coming off a whiff-filled 60-game season.

Here’s our expert analysis: that wasn’t happening in the Bronx, which is very much fine.

What the Yankees need, on offense, are platoon pieces and reinforcement. Either that, or a massive swing for an elite offensive and defensive piece like Trevor Story — a departure from the plan, salary-wise, would also have to come with a massive upgrade.

Schwarber would not have been either of those things. He would’ve been a foolish addition if the team intended to stash him on the bench, and he wasn’t a clear-cut starter or difference-maker, especially not at the price he actually earned.

If the Yanks are pinching pennies, $10 million is a commitment. It’s a raise on Schwarber’s projected arbitration salary of $7 million. If you’re signing Schwarber with Clint Frazier in place at that rate prior to LeMahieu’s decision, you’d better be a true believer.

Unless Frazier is being dangled as the centerpiece of an upcoming trade (Story? Luis Castillo?), there would be no reason to commit to Schwarber. And if Frazier is used for the much cheaper and better defender Joey Gallo, that would be a one-for-one replacement, eliminating Schwarber’s hypothetical “role” once more.

The Nationals, well below the luxury tax at around $173 million, have paid the price for pop by adding Josh Bell and Schwarber this offseason, and they’ve done well for themselves. This is their final year of control over Max Scherzer. The division-rival Mets are going all out to add talent at every hole, completing the offseason’s biggest non-Padres blockbuster. Washington’s run is waning, and Schwarber was more valuable to them than just about any other contender for his services.

But $10 million for a redundant player would’ve been malpractice by the Yankees. After all, haven’t we already seen this with Giancarlo Stanton? Kidding. Half-kidding.