A look at a possible Red Sox signing of Kyle Schwarber
Kyle Schwarber‘s stay with the Boston Red Sox has undoubtedly been positive. The lefty swatter won the fans over, albeit this one somewhat grudgingly. Schwarber had an option that business-wise cries out for passing on and testing the market, which he did.
Now just what is Schwarber worth? According to the semi-reliable MLB Trade Rumors, Schwarber is projected for a four-year, $70 million deal. Since MLBTR was in full Nostradamus mode, they predicted Schwarber’s landing spot would be the Colorado Rockies. With the potential specter of the universal DH lingering in negotiations, Schwarber can have a relatively broad market for his services.
Schwarber has endeared himself to a significant portion of Red Sox Nation. As such, the fickle fan base is in Tiki Torch and teeth-gnashing mode to have management ink the slugger. Observing the current operational standards of management, the era of money is no roadblock is now the fine dust of history.
Schwarber’s stay in Boston was statistically successful, or was it? You be the judge. I will present the following evidence to the jury: A .291 batting average, 154 OPS+, seven home runs, and 18 RBI. All that was accomplished in 41 games with Schwarber’s previous duty station, the Washington Nationals having similar numbers.
What was an enjoyable moment for this fan was Schwarber’s ability to loft moon shots. Football has hang time for punters, but Schwarber’s blasts were picturesque. His hang time was enough to grab a beer while one waited for the eventual landing. Ted Williams had the same ability to place the ball on a majestic flight line.
Schwaber’s issue becomes one of placement. A juror would also have to look at him in the field. Where do you put him on the field? The first base placement became an experiment and a -10.7 UZR/150 is defined as a work in progress. An outfielder by trade, Schwarber, showed no inclination in his career for being a Gold Glove competitor. A team can absorb fielding faux pas with the slugging he’s capable of relatively consistently.
Schwarber has professed a desire to remain in Boston. Waltham, Massachusetts, has adopted the soon-to-be 29-year-old slugger, and once a contract is inked, Schwaber may be looking more like a Dover or Manchester By The Sea resident if he chooses to sign with the Red Sox.
This will, despite Schwarber’s professed love of everything Boston and the Red Sox, become a Rodney Tidwell adventure – SHOW ME THE MONEY! Schwarber could be a fickle lover and ditch the locals and tell Chaim Bloom to pound sand. Then what?
My first reaction is, so what? Boston has a way of getting bats; heck, that is how Schwarber arrived. Boston has some youthful promise if you still call 27-year-old Bobby Dalbec youthful by baseball standards. Dalbec, however, is the polar opposite of the batting patience displayed by Schwarber. I doubt you will see Bobby D. hitting leadoff.
If one considered Worcester (AKA – Worm Town), waiting in the wings is mammoth Triston Casas. Casas plays first base, could DH, and is baseball cheap, at least at this stage of his career.
The Red Sox could also get creative and shuffle Rafael Devers to first base. That may be somewhere beyond plan A and into the territory of Plan X or Y.
Bloom could do the cheapo route, which gave us a cast of Danny Santana, among others. Can Marwin Gonzalez return for another round in Boston? The free-agent list does have some sparkle, but Schwarber remains the sweet spot for first base.
This whole exercise can be simplified since J.D. Martinez has taken his opt-out off the table. Schwarber and Martinez are both examples of just why the DH was created, and both are best suited for just that role. But, hey, I can live with two thunderous bats for one season. Embrace the hitting potential and avoid the defensive liability since one will always be puttering around the diamond on defense.
A Schwarber moving elsewhere is not the end of days. The likable slugger is a plus in any lineup, but sometimes the value is too high in the eyes of the decision-makers. I am sure management – meaning Chaim Bloom – have already placed their value.
The decision should be based on that well-respected social scientist Dear Abby. Abby would succinctly state in a relationship issue, are you better off with or without him? In 2021 both Martinez and Schwarber blended in, with Manager Alex Cora being the creative catalyst.
The assumption is if the price MLBTR is quoting is reasonably accurate. Far more manageable than the adventurism of bagging a Freddie Freeman or Marcus Semien. And a less long-term contract risk. A get it done for Bloom.