Note: This is a nice little piece by long time follower of WSD, Raymond Walden. Generally, I’m okay with the idea of trading guys for pitching, and I’ll let Raymond tell his story below.
Feel free to send stuff in to us since we’ve had life smack us upside the head, content is always nice.
“World Series Hero” Kyle Schwarber is an interesting player when it comes to figuring out how the Cubs will be able to get that World Series trophy back (the 2016 trophy is already lonely). During the World Series, Schwarber played in five of the seven games, hitting 7-17 (with three walks) for a batting average of .412. These are great numbers for a player who only played two regular season games before getting injured. During the World Series Schwarber was the DH because he wasn’t cleared to play defense during the series. So, this leads up to this season where the Cubs and their fans were excited to see how Schwarber would do playing a full season for the first time.
Schwarber played in 123 games during the 2017 regular season, with batting statistics: 422 at-bats, 89 hits, .211 batting average, 30 home runs, and 59 runs batted in (RBI’s). For a player that started about half a season on a team, this is almost mediocre for the heroics he gave the Cubs during the World Series. His fielding wasn’t much better. Schwarber’s stats aren’t terrible when it comes to fielding, but sometimes the eye test is a better indicator of a player than their stats. We all know how the Cubs did during this year, which was just an okay season compared to the 2016 season. During the postseason, like the rest of the Cubs, Schwarber never got started. He went 3-17, with fewer hits in two series than he did in the World Series. Now, we can’t put all (or even most) of the blame on him for the way the Cubs’ season went. A lot of the blame can (and hopefully will) go to the pitching staff, at least for the postseason. To be fair to Kyle I must say that this was his first full season.
As I mentioned, the Cubs are going into the 2017 offseason trying to figure out how to get back to the World Series in order to dethrone the Houston Astros. So, here is my idea of how to solve two problems with one move. Any fan can see where I’m heading (probably) with this. The Cubs should trade Kyle Schwarber to an AL team for pitching. I say the trade should be with an AL team because I feel that Schwarber can be a great DH, he already proved it in the World Series. Also, it could help Schwarber to just focus on hitting and it’ll make him more confident at the plate. What I would do if I were Jed Hoyer is try to sell Schwarber high so that I can get a good pitcher (maybe a starter). One area that I think can happen if the Cubs play their cards right is get a great starter from one of two teams.
Let’s start with the one team where there has been some light talk the last two years surrounding the Cubs and this player. The player in question is Chris Archer, from the Tampa Bay Rays. I think that if the Cubs start with Schwarber and a good prospect the Cubs could get this deal done. For the Cubs Archer is a good seasoned starter (Ace of the Rays) that can fit in the 5 man rotation and is “controlled” until 2020, so that’s two seasons where the Cubs can anchor at least one space with a great pitcher. The Rays could come out of this deal better, Archer has been rumored for the last two years and it looks like it affected him during this season so getting him out is almost a priority for the Rays.
The other part is that Schwarber isn’t up for free agency until 2022, that’s 5 seasons. The “cherry on top” of the trade can be that the prospect can help them out. The Rays are trying to stay relevant with the team they have now so Schwarber hitting homers into the ray tank out in center can get the fans into Tropicana and get the Rays out of the AL East cellar. Also, the Rays will clear up some money in the contract and could go after more players, they are ranked 25th in payroll for 2018 Opening Day so far (Cubs are ranked 7th). Contract wise, the Cubs will be sending away only thousands including the prospect. The Rays will be sending the Cubs a player who has about 14 million left on his contract (without the two option years); maybe Jed could convince the Rays to at least take some of the money. In the short term, it looks pretty even (maybe more for the Cubs) but I think long term the winner would be the Rays.
The next trade that I will talk about is less painful in the terms of money. This one came up by writer Phil Rodgers on November 10th MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” and I think it is one to really hope for. This trade includes one of the most famous OKC plumbers out there. You and I probably know him as the 2016 AL Rookie of the year award winner, Michael Fulmer. This might be the trade that both teams need for their respective roles. The Tigers aren’t going to be pushing for any playoff spot in the near future, so they might as well just start from scratch. Schwarber could be their DH and just have the team focus on offense with their already pretty good offense. The Cubs need another starter to get the starting rotation they need to have a chance to get back to the World Series (that’s without Jake Arrieta’s Free Agency mystery). So, let’s see how this trade will affect the Tigers and Cubs in the aspect of finances.
Since both players are pretty new to the MLB scene both contracts are in the favor of the clubs. I mentioned Schwarber’s contract to Archer’s and you saw that it wasn’t even close to being close. Well, Fulmer’s contract and Schwarber’s are about 10k apart from each other. Schwarber becomes a free agent in 2022 and Fulmer becomes a free agent in 2023. This trade could almost happen as a one for one trade, but I think Jed will have to add something to the trade since Fulmer’s ceiling is crazy high. Luckily for the Tigers, they can get a good DH (and probably a prospect) without really spending anything. The Tigers are ranked 13th in terms of payroll for 2018. Of the two trades, I would rather the Cubs go after this one so that the Cubs can look at a few free agents for the 2018 season and for future free agent classes.
Sometimes it’s hard to let “heroes” go but I think the sooner the Cubs get Schwarber out of Chicago and to another team, the easier it is for Cubs fans to keep looking at him as a hero… unlike Miguel Montero. Even if the Cubs were to get one of these two trades done, Jed Hoyer’s job is not done. At this point of the offseason the Cubs have more questions than answers.