Discover more from Pointless Exercise
Cubs refuse to pay our large adult son
Their market isn't small, but their ambitions are
Kyle Schwarber was not the best Cubs player during his six seasons with the team, but he was always one of the most fun.
Built like a fire hydrant, he hit some of the most iconic home runs in team history. He’s currently tied for the franchise lead in postseason home runs with six, and you can rattle a few of them off in your brain right now.
Or just watch them. We’ll wait.
Then there’s the little matter of him becoming a World Series hero after the most incredible comeback in baseball history. That might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much.
On April 2, 2016 Dexter Fowler recklessly crashed into our hero (or something like that) in left centerfield at that weird airplane hangar the Diamondbacks play in. Schwarber’s knee was shredded. Most thought his season was over. Not me, mind you, but most people.
On October 25, the Cubs played in their first World Series game in 71 years. It was a mere 207 days after his injury and there he was digging into the lefthander’s batter’s box against Corey Kluber. And what did he do?
He struck out. On a full count. Hey, it was his first at bat and he saw a lot of pitches.
And in his next at bat he did this:
He missed a homer by like three feet. Two hundred and seven days off and it took him EIGHT pitches to figure it all out.
In game two, he had two hits, and told the dugout to “suck my dick” after the first one.
No, seriously. You can hear it plain as day on this video.
I don’t have to tell you that Kyle hit .417 in the World Series. During the rain delay in game seven (you might have heard about it) he told Ben Zobrist, “I’m leading off and I’m going to step in the bucket and yank one into the right field bleachers.”
Spoiler alert. He didn’t. Instead he singled through the shift (by the way, it’s the last time he has successfully hit a ball through that shift), gave his iconic fist pump down the line and started the greatest rally in Cubs history.
His legend that started during his call up in 2015 when the Cubs needed a DH for a series in Cleveland, and took off like a rocket with those homers in the playoffs against Pissburgh and St. Louis is indelible. No matter where he goes (unless it’s St. Louis) from here he’s always a Cubs legend.
The Cubs failing to tender him a contract yesterday does not preclude them from still signing him. He’s a free agent now. The Cubs did not want to give him a raise on the $8 million he made last season when he was, to put it mildly, terrible. Batting average is never going to be Kyle’s bag, but .188? And he slugged .393, which is, well, it’s not good.
But even though Theo—I mean Jed, damn that’s going to take a while to get used to—said the sides will still talk contract and Schwarber’s a legend and all that stuff, it sure doesn’t seem like they’re serious about bringing him back. Dumping Kyle means they can move Ian Happ to left where he should be non-awful, and try to find a real centerfielder, which they haven’t had since that seventh game in 2016. The guy who was supposed to fill that role, Albert Almora, was also non-tendered yesterday. As were Jose Martinez and MVP vote getter Ryan Tepera.
So if the Cubs play Jason Heyward in right, Happ in left, find a more prototypical center fielder (I’ll be amazed if they find anybody worth a shit), there’s no place to play Schwarber, right?
I mean, it’s not like it’s inevitable that the National League is going to keep using the guy you can designate to hit for your pitcher, is it? Nah. Better just save that cash.
And, if they do bring the DH back, well, hey, there’s always Victor Caratini and his career .372 slugging.
Yes, Victor’s career slugging percentage is worse than Schwarber’s was last year, by a lot.
So yes, Schwarber was awful last year, which was a surprise since he was so good in the second half of 2019. It really seemed like he had put it all together and since he’s still only 27 years old, that was not that big of a surprise.
I’m all for taking the numbers players put up last year and throwing them into a burning dumpster in St. Louis (I assume all of them are always on fire). Too many good players had shit years for it to be a coincidence. It was a weird, half-assed season played when players were worried about getting sick, about their spouses and kids getting sick, about their parents and grandparents dying, and it was only two months long, and you know what, I’ll say it, the World Series the Dodgers won doesn’t count. It’s like winning a mini putt tournament and telling everybody you won The Masters.
I’m not going to say that owners are intentionally using poor stats that they know are an aberration as an excuse not to pay guys. But, of course they are.
Schwarber’s going to sign with somebody else, and he’s going to hit .240, but it’s going to come with 30 bombs and 85 or 90 RBI and whoever the Cubs replace him on the roster with is going to make Daniel Descalso look like Mike Trout.
The Cubs aren’t supposed to be a team that dumps a productive player for financial reasons. But the garbage family that owns the team is going to cry poor all offseason, and beyond.
I’m sure the nerdy analytics guys have a spreadsheet that shows Schwarber’s production is worth more than the approximately $9 million they’d have had to pay to keep him, but the Rickettses aren’t swayed by things like facts, or common sense.
While we wait to see who has the brains to actually sign him, let’s bask in some Schwarbombs.
How about all 55 of the ones he hit when Bryce Harper cheated him out of the 2018 Home Run Derby title.
Or all of the homers he hit in 2018.
Or all of the homers he hit in 2019.
Was any player the victim of more horrible home plate umpiring than Schwarber? Let me answer that for you. No. Umps fucked him routinely.
And here’s one of the most egregious.
And finally, after learning how to play outfield on the job in 2015 he took a bunch of shit for a couple of bad plays in the field during the 2015 NLCS (as if any of it mattered), but like everything else he does, Schwarber worked his ass off and became first a passable left fielder and then a good one. His stubby little legs will prevent him from ever covering a lot of ground out there, but he slimmed down and learned to make all the plays, and the fact that teams continue to run on him is idiotic.
I’m going to miss Kyle menacing THROW MEN around the league. I’m sure he’ll find a good place to play and he’ll be fine. As for us, we’re getting used to the Cubs dumping our favorite players, and make no mistake, the worst of it is still yet to come.
Oh, but it wasn’t all bad news. The Cubs did tender lefty reliever Kyle Ryan.
So some of it was terrible news.
That dude sucks.