The Dodgers could target former Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber in free agency.
When the Chicago Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber, we officially saw the ugly side to this offseason. The slugger gave it his all and was a key figure in the team’s 2016 World Series run, but because of his rising price tag in his final year of arbitration eligibility, the Cubs cut bait to save some money.
Now, Schwarber is out there for the taking after a poor 60-game 2020 and the latest from ESPN’s Buster Olney suggests the 27-year-old could lean toward taking a one-year deal to rebuild his value for next offseason. That way, he’d still have a chance to cash out and snag a big multi-year contract at the age of 28.
So that got us thinking … are the Los Angeles Dodgers potentially a top fit for Schwarber?
That depends on how Schwarber views the fit. Since the Dodgers are letting Joc Pederson go, this could potentially be a match made in heaven. Another lefty power hitter who plays left field? Manager Dave Roberts will find a ton of playing time for Schwarber even if he is considered the team’s fourth outfielder (which he probably will be with AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts as the starting guys).
In 2018 and 2019, Pederson managed to play in 148 and 149 games despite there being a crowded outfield. He even logged 43 games in 2020 and would’ve seen more action if he hadn’t gotten injured. It’s understandable that a starting job might be what Schwarber desires, but a high-leverage platoon role could really maximize his efficiency and show his value.
And don’t forget — the Dodgers are not the Cubs. Chicago’s inconsistent and disappointing offense placed a lot of the burden on Schwarber at times, but that won’t be the case in LA if he’s surrounded by guys like Betts, Bellinger, Corey Seager, Max Muncy and more.
Fans shouldn’t bank on this being a likely scenario, but it’s a good one to keep in the back of your minds as the offseason progresses. Schwarber is at a crossroads in a sense at this point in his career. Going to a non-contender just to start probably isn’t the answer because he’ll be a main target of opposing starting pitching. As for contenders giving him a shot, they may be hesitant because of his below-average defense in left field.
But for the Dodgers? One year of Schwarber could do wonders for both parties. The Dodgers need another lefty bat/outfielder, and he’s right there for the taking. Schwarber needs a favorable situation and there’s perhaps none better than joining the World Series champs who will find ways to get him in the lineup and use him as a highly effective contributor, both on offense and defense.