A Schwarbernundrum

It was fantastic and almost unbelievable that Kyle Schwarber was able to DH in the World Series, and a case could be made that the Cubs would not have won the World Series without his presence in the lineup.

That being said...

Being able to DH in World Series road games in A. L. parks is one thing, but the Cubs will have to decide at some point if Schwarber will be able to play a defensive position going forward.  

Obviously it's much too early to come to any conclusions, but IF (big "IF") it becomes apparent that Schwarber cannot be at least a semi-regular catcher or even a passable left-fielder in the field, it may become necessary for the Cubs to think seriously about trading Schwarber to an American League club where he can be a full-time DH. It's not that Schwarber is indifferent about defense, because nobody works harder than he does. It's just that he might not be able to play defense (whether it be catcher or left-fielder) with enough skill to avoid future injuries.  

Supposedly the Yankees asking price for Andrew Miller last July was Schwarber, so if he can actually fetch a pitcher of that quality in a trade with an A. L. club, it might not necessarily be a bad thing to trade Schwarber IF it turns out that he is limited defensively. 

That's why it was unfortunate that the National League did not adopt the DH in the new CBA, because that would have solved the problem before it became one. 

If the Cubs do find it necessary to trade Schwarber, it is at least good to know that the Cubs top two prospects (Ian Happ and Eloy Jimenez) project to be left-fielders at the big league level (Happ ETA 2018 and Eloy ETA 2019), and two other Cubs Top 10 prospects (Mark Zagunis and Eddy Julio Martinez) are corner outfielders as well.

If the Cubs want to indeed sustain success beyond the 2015-21 Bryant-Rizzo-Russell-Lester-Hendricks-Baez contention window, they will need to avoid trading any more next generation top prospects for short-term fixes. While Gleyber Torres was seemingly blocked by Russell and Baez, he actually was part of the next generation of Cub prospects who would have theoretically provided potential replacements for Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, and/or Baez, should any or all of them not sign contract extensions beyond 2021.  

That doesn't mean that trading Torres for Aroldis Chapman was in and of itself the wrong thing to do, just that it can't become a blueprint for roster management going forward, IF the Cubs want to avoid another three-year rebuild 2022-24.

With both Jake Arrieta and John Lackey scheduled to be free-agents after next season, the Cubs will likely need two starting pitchers in 2018. So the idea of trading Schwarber to an American League club for a quality starting pitcher with (let's say) three years of club control might become a lively topic of conversation at next year's Winter Meetings. Schwarber could be next year's Jorge Soler.

Again, it it obviously too early to think too seriously about the possibility of trading Kyle Schwarber, and while I would certainly hate to see him go, it is something to keep in mind as the Cubs go forward through the 2017 season.  

Comments

AZ Phil, I know the Cubs have re-signed Manny Parra to a minor league contract. Do you think he is a possible loogy in 2017? How far along is he with his rehab? Thanks.

neat...didn't hear about that. he was doing well last season in spring training before his arm blew up. there was even talk of a pen arm being traded to make room for him on the roster. he's a lefty that throws low 90s with a slider...when healthy...which hasn't been a common theme for him since 2013 or so.

HAGSAG: Manny Parra is still in the Cubs organiation only because the Cubs are on the hook for his April 2016 TJS. I think he will probably continue his rehab by throwing "live" BP and eventually pitch in "sim" games & EXST Cactus League games at Extended Spring Training, and then the Cubs will see where he's at come June. Or he could get released before that. 

I think the Cubs need to tell Kyle to forget about catching and focus on becoming an All-Star LF. The hope of being a catcher may dilute his focus a bit, and, given the emphasis Joe and Theo team put on strong defense at catcher, I just don't see it for Schwarber. I have to believe that an athlete with his skills and his work ethic can become at least an average LF if that is the only position he focuses on. In this lineup, hitting ahead of Bryant and Rizzo, he could put up All-Star numbers as a LF. If Jay/Almora man CF, with Heyward in right, they should be able to help cover a bit for Schwarber. But, it comes down to practice and reps -- stay in LF and don't go behind the plate, Kyle.

I'm not sure the issue is whether he can play defense or not. He improved dramatically in LF at the end of 2015 (obviously with NLCS hiccups) and we truly have no significant sample size to judge. That being said - even if he is as marginal as Soler, the evaluation on a team with so many options is more likely in how good of an offensive player he is. ZIPS only has him at 2.1 zWAR. With an OPS that exceeded Kris Bryant (I know small sample size), the proposition changes entirely if WARBear performs more like the offensive-only side of Mike Trout. With the athleticism of Almora/Hayward, the net increase in OF platoon WAR suddenly is BETTER than last year with Dex, if Kyle is more in the mid 4 WAR range and Heyward rebounds to only his career average (as he has done twice before following 1 or under WAR in bad seasons.) Clearly the front office doesn't think it's that big of a concern, and Kyle isn't exactly slow in LF either. He's an athlete - albeit a non-traditional one for that role. With this coach (and our new bullpen toys), I could envision a seamless transition for a .380/.390+ OBP leadoff Schwarber who gets leads before the 8th - and is pulled for Szczur/KB/Zobrist in close games. Frankly not to different from how Joe used both Soler and Willson. I remember back to when Kyle was drafted with a couple of reports saying that there was a sizeable contingent in the front office who actually felt Schwarber had a BETTER potential impact than Kris. They are two completely different players of course and that doesn't mean they didn't think Kris would be anything but great. But I suspect there is a reason they quickly quashed the Yankee rumors and actually called Kyle. I don't get that they foresee anything but a permanent piece for a long time. (Of course I will deny all of this if he goes bust by June....lol)

Schwarber will be fine in LF, I look forward to him hitting 30 plus Hrs next year. He is not Pablo Sandoval

mark trumbo kyle schwarber should be okay in LF. hopefully with jay/almora it won't sting too much. the bar is already set pretty low for expectations there. hopefully he can meet those expectations as a minimum.

phil bickford (MIL pitching prospect, 2015 1st round pick) suspended 50 games after a second positive for a "drug of abuse" ...weed takes down another minor leaguer. yes, they know the risk...and yes it's stupid to take that risk, but it's also played out (imo) to keep cracking down on this particular non-performance-enhancing drug in the minors.

There is no reason to think that he won't be up to full strength and range of motion by spring. That would be normal for this surgery now.

This may have been posted a few weeks ago but here's a link to John Sickel's updated Cub prospect list: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/11/26/137... Enjoyable read and a good Q&A at the end - nice contributions there by Bradsbeard (I think he comments here on occasion)

Very kind of you!

"According to Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, the Cubs have had continued dialogue with free agent right-hander Tyson Ross since the winter meetings ended." meh. sure, he's not trash, but when he's not pitching in the caverns of OAK and SD home parks that gloss becomes less shiny. still, he's looking 8-12m or something like that so it wouldn't be an expensive gamble comparable to what he can do. it would be kinda weird to slow montgomery's entry into being rotation-ready for 2017+, though.

He can't start throwing until April. Probably would not be with team until mid season

cool...that would get montgomery stretched for a full season of starting in 2018 without being over-worked in 2017.

Exactly, and for that reason, I doubt he would get more than $4 million plus incentives on a 1-year deal. Actually a much better chance he'd grab a better AAV on a 2-year deal, so I expect his agent is going to shop for that.

Why does everybody forget about Trevor Clifton? He's done well at every level. (very poor run support so not a fair W/L). He'll be a rule 5 eligible next year. Everybody talks about Cease (rightfully so)/Johnson/Underwood etc. (All three have had significant injuries Clifton never has). Everybody talks about Happ and Jimenez, who face the same problem as Soler, no place to play, given Happ is more of a Zobrist type. Why does Clifton or Stinett even slip off the radar. They'll both start at AA depending on AAA one or both could push a SP to the bullpen like Rob Z. did last year after starting at AA.

CUBBIES-4-EVER: I haven't forgotten about Trevor Clifton. I have him rated as the Cubs #7 prospect overall and #2 starting pitcher prospect (behind only Dylan Cease) and I've been saying that here at TCR for months, and I have Jake Stinnett as the Cubs minor league SP breakout candidate in 2017. Both are Rule 5 Draft-eligible post-2017, so barring injuries or collapse Clifton will very likely be added to the MLB 40-man roster by next 11/20 (at the latest) and Stinnett should get strong consideration for the 40 as well. 

Az Phil, Have you posted your prospect rankings on the site before?

Fwiw, Clifton is rated by Sickels as the Cubs #3 overall prospect behind only Eloy and Cease. He also has Underwood at #9 overall with a B-/C+ rating. Pierce Johnson is outside his top 30, with a C rating. He also notes in the comments that he believes that Johnson can still make it to the majors as a reliever and that, if he was another team, he would try to buy low on him.

Why, cubbies.4ever? Because after five drafts beginning in 2012, only Zastryzny and Zack Godley (now with the Diamondbacks) have thrown a pitch in the majors. We didn't draft Arrieta or Hendricks. Fun fact: Rob Z. and Godley are the only McLeod-era draftees to play in the majors who were drafted lower than 6th overall. (I certainly concede that McLeod nailed the #2 and #4 picks.) Pitching-wise, apart from Clay Buchholz I don't see much during McLeod's stints in Boston or San Diego. I was kind of rooting for McLeod to land that GM job with the Twins a few months ago.

Jon Morosi‏ @jonmorosi #Cubs have been in contact with #Tigers on a possible Justin Wilson trade, source says; unclear if there is current momentum

Well now I'm hungry for gumbo.

supposedly LAD/k.jansen are close to a deal. WAS has been linked to a ton of top FA and trade targets...and have nothing to show for the rumors. they got j.lobaton and c.heisey, though...so well...yeah. anything they can do to not be uber-competitive works for me. they got a hell of a crew of talent as it is without getting top tier additions.

Dodgers about to give two bad contracts Jensen 5 years Turner 4 years /yuck

5/80 for jansen...16m/yr

Stooopid

Jeff Nuich‏@JeffNuich MAJOR PROGRAMMING ANNCT: @CSNChicago to replay EVERY 2016 #CUBS #Postseason victory beginning Dec. 22! Details -- http://www.csnchicago.com/chicago-cubs/csn-re... …

Peter Gammons GM respected for scouting and highly asture in analytics today said, "I think Adam Eaton is one of the 15 best players in the game." /fart

Obviously Rizzo.

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  • crunch 5 hours 30 min ago (view)

    side note...k.wong is on 1st putting on one of those "baserunning mitts" (hand protection for sliding) that's extending past the length of his hand/fingers by at least 2-3 inches.

    they're going to have to start regulating this piece of equipment if this keeps up...

     

  • crunch 7 hours 36 min ago (view)

    Q with LAA in his debut for them...HBP, a wild pitch, and BB through 7 pitches...then 3 pop-outs to follow.

    blah blah spring training...

    baseball on TV...neat.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 10 hours 51 min ago (view)

    We just traded for Maddux!!!   ......... nope, the other one.

     

  • crunch 23 hours 22 min ago (view)

    yeah, i'm just saying i did consider piling onto it with a troll-level post about the trade...it's practically asking to be written that way.

    jeff passan did it quite well... https://twitter.com/jeffpassan/status/136577746706...

    that said, i had no idea zach bryant existed before today, but his early numbers looked oddly good (which means nothing without context that early in his career).

     

  • Charlie 1 day 1 min ago (view)

    Oh, I mean the trade. You were quite diligent in posting!

     

  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    i contemplated writing the post totally trolled out as hell with "zach" coming after a wall of text.

    i decided the cubs being cheap was enough pre-season punishment without piling on.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    This is a straight up troll 

     

  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    rsox aquiring ZACH bryant from the cubs.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player...

    ptbn from the josh osich deal.

    totally useless trade...hopefully not a terrible loss.

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    Chase Strumpf and Andy Weber invited to the ML camp.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Ryan Tepera returns. Major League deal

     

  • crunch 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    spring training TV is usually fluid...adding and subtracting broadcast games...

    first cubs TV (as of now) is March 3 (wednesday) on ESPN at 3pm EST.

    radio broadcasts available for almost every game that's not televised.  the cubs get going on monday and some other teams will start the day before.

     

  • crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)

    dj snelton's left elbow is screwed up...6 weeks rest then re-evaluate.

    looks like he's going to try to avoid having surgery.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 22 hours ago (view)

    AAA leagues really need to play through the month of September, because with September rosters being limited to 28 instead of 40, players will need to be moved back & forth between MLB and AAA throughout the month of September instead of just through the month of August. 

     

  • Mike Wellman 6 days 6 hours ago (view)

    I get you, SW. Here in Des Moines, Cardinal fans flocked to I-Cub games when Memphis Redbirds were in town. That won't happen in '21 and even if it does in '22 & beyond it won't be as frequent as when they were in the same division. Not that I'll miss seeing Cardinal gear @ our ballpark...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 6 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Ervin claimed by Braves. So we lose a potential future (and also current) asset in exchange for one year of a very mediocre Jake Marisnick.

    This team has no direction at the moment.

     

  • Sonicwind75 6 days 7 hours ago (view)

    As a midwest kid now living in Texas, new scheduling is a bummer.  Only get a chance to drive and see Cubs once every 3 years with interleague.  Really looked forward to those games in Round Rock and the one season in San Antonio.  I understand it makes more sense in the big picture, just selfishly disappointed.