The front office could trade from the position player depth to acquire starting pitching this off-season. But Kyle Schwarber will not be one of the players moved if the Cubs go that direction.
Rumors surfaced after the Cubs were eliminated from the playoffs that Schwarber would be traded to add pitching. The unfounded reports were so ridiculous that ESPN Chicago felt the need to quiet those rumors.
Those that watched the Cubs in the NLCS saw Schwarber struggle defensively in left field. Schwarber did not play well in the field on the national stage. Schwarber actually played a solid left field over the last two-plus months of the season. Any mistakes were certainly made up for by the offense he provided. Schwarber is not going to be mistaken for Alex Gordon anytime soon, but he held his own in the field and should get better over time.
The Cubs have to keep Schwarber’s bat in the lineup. He will continue to be developed as a catcher, but at the big league level. Schwarber gives Joe Maddon another left-handed, middle of the order power bat to couple with Anthony Rizzo. The trio of Schwarber, Rizzo and Kris Bryant has a chance to make life very challenging for pitching staffs for many years to come.
Kyle Schwarber played in 69 games in the majors this season. Schwarber hit .246/.355/.487 with six doubles, one triple and 16 home runs for a .842 OPS. Schwarber walked 36 times with 77 strikeouts in 273 plate appearances.
In the postseason, Schwarber was 9-for-27 in nine games with five home runs and four walks (.333/.419/.889) for a 1.308 OPS. Schwarber’s two hits against the Mets left the park.
Counting the post-season, Schwarber hit 21 home runs in his first 78 games at the big league level.
As Schwarber matures as a hitter, he should perform better against left handed pitching and cut down on his strikeouts. Schwarber hit lefties in the minors better than what he showed and will eventually make the right adjustments to do the same in the majors. Schwarber has the skillset to be a .300 hitter with 30-plus homers in the big leagues. And a player with that ceiling is not traded for pitching.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would never use the word ‘untouchable’ when discussing their players but if the front office did, Kyle Schwarber would be on a list of untouchable players along with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Those are players with elite skillsets that winning, contending teams are built with, not traded away.