Kyle Schwarber isn’t going anywhere.
Team President Theo Epstien and General Manager Jed Hoyer have said that from the beginning. That won’t change.
And it shouldn’t.
Folks who are insistent on the Cubs trading Schwarber for the possibility of getting one, or both, of the Yankees’ shutdown lefty relievers—Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller—don’t understand the Cubs’ model.
This is not about 2016. This is about building something that will last. The Cubs’ core group of youngsters may be one of the most talented groups of all-time, and none of them are going anywhere. The goal is to have a chance to play the game each October. If they can be at the table each of the next six or seven years, there’s a great chance that a World Series crown will be in the cards.
It’s not worth mortgaging the future to try to win this October. Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Russell, Baez and Almora are only going to get better over the next few seasons. The Cubs are betting on that core, and they believe they can win a title in the next half-decade by building around them—that hardly seems like a gamble.
That’s all the Cubs want: a seat at the table each year. The title, or perhaps titles, will come.
Some fans make the argument that Kyle Schwarber belongs in the American League. The argument goes something like this: He struggled playing the outfield last season, and after tearing up his knee in April, who knows if he’ll ever to be able to catch again. First base would be the only other viable option for him, but Rizzo has first base at the friendly confines on lockdown for years to come. So, there’s no room for him, right?
Wrong. Absolutely wrong. There is always room for a player as special as Kyle Schwarber. A power-hitting left-handed bat that can also hit for average, is 23 years young and is an absolute workhorse—yeah, I think we can find a spot for him. Teammates and Cubs executives frequently tout Schwarber’s leadership abilities. He’s a great team player with a fantastic work ethic—he’s a first guy to get there, last guy to leave type of player.
The sentiment that “Kyle Schwarber belongs in the AL” is just silly. Sure, he would do a great job splitting time between first base and designated hitter, but a player of his caliber would be welcomed with open arms on any roster, AL or NL. He’s truly a special hitter with all of the intangibles needed to be great. Would he be great in the American League? Of course. He’ll also be great wearing a Cubs uniform for many years to come.
I’m also baffled by fans who think that a blockbuster trade for Miller and Chapman would guarantee the Cubs a World Series championship. Those fans don’t understand the game of baseball. The sport is just too unpredictable, especially in October. It’s unlike any other game.
I don’t want to undermine the abilities of Miller and Chapman. Adding them to the backend of the pen with Hector Rondon would make for a lethal 7th-8th-9th inning combination. They would be dynamic—there’s no doubt about that—and they might even be the best in baseball. But, it’s not worth trading a critical piece of the core away.
The Cubs farm system is loaded with young talent. Names like Ian Happ, Dan Vogelbach, Billy McKinney and Eloy Jimenez give the Cubs plenty of chips to play with. Few teams in the bigs would be able to put forth the type of offer that the Cubs can.
Epstein and Hoyer have also said from the beginning that there’s no “untouchables.” That’s not true. There absolutely are untouchable players and Schwarber is one of them. I understand the thought behind saying this, obviously you’re going to listen to all offers; but, Schwarber is as close to untouchable as a player can be.
Expect the Cubs to make a splash at the deadline, but I can promise they’re not going all-in on 2016. Kyle Schwarber is here to stay — and rightfully so.
Kevin McCarthy, a junior at the University of Illinois, is serving an internship at Scout.com this summer and covering the Cubs for NorthSidersReport. You can follow him at @KevOMcCarthy on Twitter or contact him by e-mail at Kevin.McCarthy00@yahoo.com