With Miguel Montero headed to the DL for up to six weeks, the Cubs have recalled Kyle Schwarber from Iowa for his second stint in the big leagues. The North Siders will go with three catchers and according to reports, Schwarber will not be the every day catcher.
While the return of a left-handed bat that hit .364/.391/.591 in six games with a homer, six RBI and six runs, is a boost to the offense; the loss of Montero is a major concern to the Cubs playoff hopes with his handling of the pitching staff, leadership, and home run power.
Taylor Teagarden, 31, may not be a household name but has been behind the dish for over 1,300 innings in 171 major-league games, including 60 for Texas in 2009. Any offense from the eight-year vet will be a bonus as he sports a .202/.260/.377 slash in 559 career plate appearances.
David Ross hasn’t caught 60 games in a season since he had a career-high 108 for the Reds back in 2007 and he’s already spent 28 games behind the dish. The 38-year-old just returned from the 7-day concussion list and is batting .189/.302/.284 in 87 plate appearances.
While the ideal situation would have been for Schwarber to develop behind the plate in Triple-A, the Cubs can afford to promote the 2014 first-round pick, use him off the bench as a pinch-hitter and a late-inning sub, and give him an occasional start. An injury to either Ross or Teagarden would put the 22-year-old in the middle of the pennant race.
With no outfield experience above the Class A level, its hard to imagine the Cubs would stick Schwarber out in left field as you can’t expect him to adjust to the speed of the big league game and the size of the major league parks in the outfield. The Cubs do have three games against the White Sox Aug. 14-16 where he can DH.
While he won’t be playing everyday, he will be gaining valuable experience he can’t get in AAA and learn the nuances of the majors including preparation. And don’t expect him to continue to hit .364 and knock in a run every game.
With the Cubs already trading Welington Castillo and losing Rafael Lopez in a trade after a waiver claim, the Cubs really didn’t have many other options but to call up Schwarber, which is a pretty good backup plan.