OK, I’m only partially serious, because, as we’ve said so many times this offseason, there are versions of a Kyle Schwarber trade that the Cubs may have to consider. I just instinctively tighten up in the chest when I hear about things that even start to go down the road of a Schwarber trade.
Things like a report from ESPN out of Boston that the Red Sox, who are looking to add a power bat this offseason, are interested in trading to Schwarber.
For the Red Sox, the attraction is obvious, since they could settle Schwarber in as a long-term, low-cost DH, adding thump to the middle of the lineup, and not otherwise restricting any maneuvering. For the Cubs, though, the desire to trade Schwarber absent a no-brainer, pitching-loaded return is less obvious, as even the ESPN report acknowledges.
Moreover, the Red Sox don’t really have the kind of obvious, big-league-proven, young, controlled, starting pitchers that the Cubs would be looking for in this kind of win-win swap. (Note: Eduardo Rodriguez just had knee surgery that could have him out until a month or two into the season. That, in isolation, wouldn’t make you avoid him totally, but you’d have to have a ton of confidence that the surgery will have no impact on his future projection. Me? It makes me nervous.)
Heck, they don’t even really have top tier, big-league-ready starting pitching prospects. Instead, the Red Sox have some nice pitching prospects down at the lower levels, not entirely unlike the Cubs. Maybe the Cubs would be willing to look at the positional side, but they’re talking about robbing Peter to pay Paul. I don’t see an obvious fit here.
The rest of baseball will see Schwarber as a buy-low opportunity. A guy with a ton of latent offensive potential that they can snatch up and realize on their time. And if that’s the mindset for trade offers, then I just don’t see how the Cubs are going to get appropriate value for a guy with almost no minor league experience, whose only poor offensive production in the big leagues came in the first half season after he returned from a major knee injury.
No thanks, man. No thanks. I’d much rather the Cubs hang onto Schwarber and see what he can be in 2018.
If a crazy offer comes along in the meantime, yes, I’ll open myself up – just as the Cubs must – to the possibility that Schwarber’s value is best converted into pitching.
It’s Winter Meetings week, so we’ll keep an eye on this, of course. But I’d be surprised if there’s a great fit that develops.