Imagine Kyle Schwarber hitting mammoth home runs in a St. Louis Cardinals jersey. After being non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs, is he a fit?
When the MLB non-tender deadline came and went, it was commonly thought that many prominent names would be cut loose to join an ice-cold free agent marketplace. When the Chicago Cubs non-tendered slugger Kyle Schwarber, he instantly jumped up high on the list of possible St. Louis Cardinals options.
Schwarber joins a list of fellow non-tenders like Colorado Rockies outfielder David Dahl. Dahl also checks several boxes and all things considered is another ideal target for the Cardinals, but that’s an article for another day.
The appeal for Schwarber is simple. Power. He’s got it and the Cardinals need it. Much has been said about his defense, and he’s also not likely to win many batting titles. But the power he brings is legit and can change the complexion of a ballgame with a single swing. He’s likely to have several suitors and his market could expand even more if the DH is made universal again in 2021 and beyond.
In 2020, he hit .188 but had 11 home runs. That’s the tradeoff with Schwarber: game-changing power at the expense of a lot of swings and misses. Is it worthwhile?
For his career, Schwarber is a .230 hitter, which is tolerable with the power that he presents. And an OPS+ of 113 suggests he’s an above-average hitter and since he hits left-handed, would add a different look to a right-handed heavy lineup.
The Cardinals lineup is currently stacked with players who strike out their fair share but don’t counter it with power numbers. With Schwarber, you can expect power.
In 2019, he mashed 38 homers with 92 RBI. Yeah, that plays. He also hit .250 that season which shows that the average can be in a respectable place as well.
He was born in Ohio and has remained in the Midwest as he has spent his entire MLB career in Chicago with the Cubs. A move to St. Louis would keep him in the region, which could be appealing.
Schwarber, not known for his defense, has seem destined to be a designated hitter. And with the DH potentially returning to the National League, it would increase the chances of him signing in St. Louis. But it is unlikely he signs anywhere until there is clarity on the situation. That said, if needed, Schwarber could play a capable outfield for the Cardinals, though. He could split time in an outfield platoon and DH on the other days.
The fit is there. I don’t think you have to squint to see it. Sure, someone like David Dahl would be a more complete piece to the puzzle. But for a team like the Cardinals who need power and impact bats in a major way, Schwarber is certainly one of the best names on the market.