Several players were non-tendered by their clubs on Wednesday giving the KC Royals plenty of opportunities to shore up the outfield.
While the KC Royals have already made a splash in the pitching market they still have a gaping hole to fill in the outfield. Fortunately for them, there are several options now with other clubs deciding to not make offers to arbitration-eligible players.
With the retirement of Alex Gordon, the move to first and now possibly back to third for Hunter Dozier, Whit Merrifield stands as the only sure player who will play daily in the outfield. While there are several internal candidates, a proven bat out there is needed.
Often sought after Cubbies slugger
The Chicago Cubs seem to be teetering on the edge of an at least soft rebuild of their squad. While they did hold on to Kris Bryant – but still could trade him – they did let go slugger Kyle Schwarber.
The playoff hero from only a few years ago has plenty of pop in his bat that would make a highly potent middle of the order when paired with Salvador Perez, Jorge Soler, and Dozier. The Royals have not had a feared quartet of power in a long time.
In essentially four full seasons, Schwarber has cranked out 121 dingers to go along with 71 doubles and eight triples leading to a career .480 slugging percentage. Despite some poor batting averages, he has still managed to reach base at a .336 clip which is sadly several points higher than the KC Royals did as a team in 2020.
Particularly impressive are the .355 and .356 OBPs Schwarber put up in ’15 and ’18 despite batting averages of only .246 and .238, respectively. Of concern, however, are the .315 and .308 on-base numbers from ’17 and this past summer.
Schwarber has a nice arm in the outfield registering 29 assists in 463 career outfield games. He has had a couple of bumpy years fielding but also in two of the last three seasons has recorded a fielding percentage above the league average.
After making $7 million during a career-worst year the Cubs opted to not negotiate a new deal. Schwarber turns 28 next spring and could be a nice get for the Royals without breaking the bank. And if he can rebound from 2020 he could find himself an opportunity to be a playoff hero again.