With potential changes coming, the Kansas City Royals could take advantage and pluck Kyle Schwarber from the north siders.
When John Sherman becomes the new owner of the Kansas City Royals in November, one would think he’s going to make a splash to get the fanbase excited again. While Mookie Betts could certainly achieve that, there’s no question that the assets needed to acquire him would be costly. The Royals could shift their attention to another power-hitter in Cubs’ left-fielder Kyle Schwarber.
The north siders are underwhelming for the second consecutive season and currently, have a fingers’ grasp on the second wild-card spot. If they let it completely slip away, or frankly get ousted in the wild-card round, Theo Epstein and company could make major changes this offseason which might see a core player on the move.
Schwarber, 26, was a first-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and is most known for his heroics in the 2016 World Series. He struggled in 2017, being sent back down to Triple-A to get some things sorted out, but has put together a solid 2019 season. Entering Tuesday, Schwarber is slashing 0.235/0.326/0.514 with 35 home runs and 82 RBI’s (111 wRC+).
The Royals will most certainly decline Alex Gordon‘s $20 million mutual option and hand him his $4 million buyout. Gordon has stated that he is “60-40” on whether he’ll return next season and indicated that he only wants to play for one team, but John Sherman needs to do what’s best for the team going forward.
The knock on Schwarber is that “he’s a lousy defender”, right? However, he has a 0.975 fielding percentage this season, which is second-worst among qualified left-fielders (12), but he has the sixth-best range factor (1.59), and the fifth-most assists (6). With the emergence of Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier this season, Schwarber would be the perfect complement in the middle of the order.
His 92.4 mph exit velo is in the top 4 percent of the league and is squaring up the barrel to the bat at a 13.4 percent rate, also tops in the league. Obviously, squaring up the ball is going to result in hitting the ball well and Schwarber is in the top 3 percent of the league with 49.9 percent hard-hit balls.
Schwarber is under team control through the 2021 season and made just $3.4 million in arbitration this year. He’ll cost a couple of prospects but not sure if the Royals would have to part with any of the fab-five.