Kyle Schwarber May Be Jason Hammel's Personal Catcher and Other Bullets

Social Navigation

Kyle Schwarber May Be Jason Hammel’s Personal Catcher and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

kyle schwarber cubs catcherIndiana Jones is coming back for a fifth movie … in 2019. Hopefully that will give the involved parties plenty of time to improve upon the dreadful crystal skull thing.

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. I saw only the first 30 minutes or so of the fourth Indy movie, so maybe it was great after that. Those first 30 were plenty for me, though. At least the first three were all pretty great, and afford me an opportunity to link to a favorite GIF. And you wonder … will it be the heart-pulling? The face-melting? Snakes? Nope. This one.

  • As some of us have speculated this Spring, it’s looking more and more like Kyle Schwarber may get regular time behind the plate this season by way of being one pitcher’s personal catcher. Specifically, it looks like it’ll be the guy who minor league game he caught on Thursday: Jason Hammel. To be sure, there’s been no announcement or anything formal, but the two worked together quite a bit last year, Schwarber has caught Hammel already a couple times this Spring, and each of these Tribune and CSN articles suggest the pairing could be coming. I previously wrote at length on the pros and cons of this kind of setup, so I won’t rehash it here. In sum, I think it’s a close call, but the benefits seem to at least slightly outweigh the downside risks, plus Hammel’s repertoire seems like a good fit for Schwarber’s ability. I like it, and it’s important to keep in mind that it might not quite be the same kind of exclusive pairing that we’ve seen from David Ross and Jon Lester, so there could still be some flexibility.
  • All that said, Joe Maddon put it pretty plainly when asked about Schwarber’s catching future in conjunction with that of Willson Contreras, who looks like the future behind the plate more than ever (ESPN): “Schwarber would not hold back Contreras from becoming a Major League catcher is the best way to describe it.” In other words, if and when Contreras is ready (and when the Cubs want to transition from Miguel Montero was the regular starter (he’s still really good, by the way)), he’d be the “catcher of the future,” and not Schwarber, who would probably be what he is now (primarily an outfielder, who occasionally catches).
  • Tony Andracki writes about clubhouse chemistry, how the Cubs had it, and how they can recreate it. Relatedly, Cubs players and Joe Maddon talk about the clubhouse, in light of the White Sox/Adam LaRoche flap, and react specifically to the situation here. They seem quite a bit more hands off.
  • Speaking of which, although Adam LaRoche and several White Sox players indicated that everyone had always been fine with having LaRoche’s son in the clubhouse, and implied that president Kenny Williams made the decision to ban the son … that’s probably not exactly what happened. It always seemed likely that some player or players had said something, and Williams was taking the bullet by passing along the message about LaRoche’s son. According to Bob Nightengale’s sources, multiple players and staff complained about Drake LaRoche constantly being with the team last year – not because the 14-year-old, himself, was a problem, but instead because they weren’t comfortable having a child around all the time. From there, Williams told LaRoche to scale it back, but, according to Nightengale, LaRoche’s son was still around every day thereafter, and that’s when Williams told LaRoche that Drake could no longer be in the clubhouse at all.
  • You do wonder whether Williams could have handled it better, but this timeline now puts everything into perspective, and makes a whole lot more sense.
  • Cubs temporary tattoos?! The Little Girl would love these.
  • If you missed it earlier this morning, the Cardinals are likely signing Ruben Tejada.
  • You may have noticed our publishing schedule has been wonky the last few days – being on Pacific Time (Arizona doesn’t do daylight savings) is really wrecking my normal sense of schedule, so everything’s all mucked up. I’ll keep doing the best I can, but you might see things (like these Bullets, for example) posted at atypical times until I return from Arizona next Friday.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.