If it seems like a repetitive trend when it comes to the Cubs’ core players, that’s because it is. Like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Báez, Kyle Schwarber had a pitiful season. With a BABIP of .218, the left fielder can at least blame some bad luck for his awful season at the plate. That’s the lone saving grace of his season, however.
Kyle Schwarber looks very slim 👀pic.twitter.com/9ikyCfkHVH
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) February 23, 2018
Then there is the notion that he let himself fall into some previously bad habits when it came to maintaining his athleticism, something that clearly hurt his outfield play. At one point it even got so bad that manager David Ross pulled him early from a late-season game. Of course, Schwarber is already being mentioned in trade rumors, especially because he is entering his last year of team control. Bad luck at the plate aside, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would likely be selling low on a player who looked like he was ready to break out entering this season.
Instead, Schwarber spent much of the campaign looking completely lost at the plate with much less power than expected. He seemed unprepared, particularly against pitchers he was facing for the first time, which resulted in the last three weeks of the season being a low point of his career. In his final 23 games, Schwarber batted a putrid .101 with three extra-base hits, three RBI and 21 strikeouts in 69 at-bats. He hit just two home runs the entire month of September, which was painful to watch. Whether he was out of shape or just in a prolonged slump, that’s going to make for a long offseason.
Schwarber is going to need a huge bounceback year before entering free agency. If Theo Epstein believes the slugging outfielder can turn it around, he’ll probably resist the lowball offers from American League teams looking for power at the DH position, at least until the trade deadline in July. I don’t see an offer forthcoming that will make it worthwhile to move Schwarber this winter, but anything is possible.
- Final Stats: .188/.308/.393, 30 R, 11 HR, 24 RBI 90 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
- Final Grade: D
Cubs News & Notes
- Despite the awful season by the team’s core group and calls to blow it all up, Ross would like to see Cubs fans stand up for his guys.
- Seven Cubs players are finalists for NL Gold Glove Awards, including pitchers Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills.
- The dreary financial news for the Cubs continued yesterday as Hulu announced it has dropped the Marquee Sports Network and several other RSNs.
- It’s been a challenging first year for Marquee, to say the least.
- Third base coach Will Venable has interviewed with the Tigers for their open managerial position. Venable is also in the mix for the opening with the Red Sox.
- The Bears have submitted a plan to allow fans to attend games at Soldier Field this season. Mayor Lori Lightfoot permitting the team to start the process of readmitting ticket holders would bode well for the Cubs in 2021.
- Former Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler talked about Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and his favorite Wrigley Field memories, among other topics.
- Retired Cubs great Andre Dawson was named the first ever recipient of the Curt Flood Award. The honor is the latest addition to the MLBPA Players Choice Awards, going to a former player, living or deceased, “who in the image of Flood demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the Players Association and advancement of Players’ rights.”
Odds & Sods
MLB/Fox advertising the World Series as Mookie Betts and the Dodgers against the Rays. As if the Rays have no players worthy of hype. This refusal to properly market players has long been MLB’s problem.
— Evan Altman (@DEvanAltman) October 23, 2020
With the World Series knotted up at one game apiece, hard-throwing right-handers Walker Buehler of the Dodgers and Charlie Morton of the Rays will face off in tonight’s pivotal Game 3 matchup at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
Brandon Lowe staying hot might spell trouble for Buehler. Lowe was Tampa Bay’s best hitter, with 14 homers and 37 RBI during the regular season to complement a .269/.362/.554 slash line before running into a postseason slump, but he might have broken out of it with two taters in a Game 2 victory.
How About That!
Gary Sheffield Jr. would like MLB to allow steroids to help players better recover from injuries. His father was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report as a player who had tested positive for PEDs.
Henry Aaron admitted to PED’s but Barry Bonds isn’t in the Hall or Fame when he’s twice the player 🤷🏽♂️
— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) August 31, 2019
Imagine if the Pirates had held on to Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow? Yes, they had Gerrit Cole at that time, too. Their return for moving those three players was Chris Archer, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove, and Jason Martin.
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) October 23, 2020
They Said It
- “I already got a bunch of gray hairs on my head, just because I think a lot about baseball. I don’t need [trade speculation] on my mind too.” – Kyle Schwarber
- ‘‘People just need to stay positive. We need the love. We need them rooting us on through thick and thin, good and bad. There are lots of quality human beings on this team and some good guys to root for. Continue having our backs and supporting us. That’s all we can ask for.” – David Ross
- “I kinda blacked out. Going up to bat, your heart is pumping like crazy and then you get up there and you realize it’s the same game. I hit the ball and that whole thing is a blur. I really haven’t watched the game back. I’ve seen the highlights but I haven’t watched everything surrounding that Game 7. I’m gonna wait until the end of my career to do that.” – Dexter Fowler
- “I think anything that’s new is going to be jarring for a period of time. There were a lot of learning curves and challenges for everybody involved, but quite a bit of it worked very well.” – Marquee Network GM Mike McCarthy
Friday Walk Up Song
Things Have Changed by Bob Dylan – Just a Friday mood. If you haven’t seen the film “Wonder Boys” starring Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr., and Tobey Maguire, I highly recommend it.