Kyle Schwarber had a stout 2021 MLB campaign. In a season split between the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals, Schwarber flat-out raked before and after a mid-season hamstring injury that kept him off the outfield grass for six weeks.
In his time with the Red Sox, Schwarber played left field and first base while also serving as the team’s designated hitter. Although it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for him at first base, Schwarber getting experience at the position adds more lure to his free agency.
Here are three ideal free agent destinations for Kyle Schwarber.
3. San Francisco Giants improve their outfield with Kyle Schwarber
With midseason acquisition Kris Bryant a free agent, the Giants have an opening for a multipurpose and/or everyday outfielder. Schwarber would be a compelling fit in the Giants’ depth chart.
The outfield combination of Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar, Alex Dickerson and Austin Slater was underwhelming at the plate in 2021, which is partially what led to the Giants acquiring Bryant before last season’s MLB trade deadline.
Schwaber is a respectable left fielder. He gives manager Gabe Kapler an immediate upgrade in left and perhaps insurance for the scenario that first baseman Brandon Belt departs the Bay Area this offseason. At the plate, Schwarber gives the Giants a power punch from the left side.
- Kyle Schwarber stats (2021): .266/.374/.554, 32 home runs and 71 RBIs across 399 at-bats
With Buster Posey retiring, San Francisco has significant production and reliability to replace, as the lifelong Giant had a spectacular 2021 campaign. With the Giants looking for their catcher of the future, they have to find offense at other positions in the short term. Signing Schwarber is a savvy way for them to find that offense.
Looking to build on their outstanding 107-win campaign, Schwarber would help the Giants get back to the playoffs. With all that said, the Giants may feel their outfielders are capable of better performance and therefore solely focus on retaining their free agent starting pitchers (Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani). LaMonte Wade could also assume a more permanent role.
2. Kyle Schwarber goes back to the Washington Nationals
Once upon a time ago, the Nationals were the hottest team in MLB and Schwarber’s power barrage was the impetus for their hot play. Schwarber returning to the Nationals is a viable option for both parties.
While they essentially traded away a third of their roster last season, the Nationals still had a productive offense; it’s a unit with upside, as individuals like Lane Thomas, Keibert Ruiz and Luis Garcia can only improve. Sharing the grass with Thomas and Juan Soto, Schwarber would give the Nationals a sturdy starting outfield.
Schwarber would go back to left, giving the Nationals a prolific left-handed hitting unit with himself, Soto and the switch-hitting Josh Bell and Ruiz. While collectively productive and capable of crowding the bases, the Nationals need more pop and players to get runners across home plate. Schwarber fits the bill in that regard.
If they can fill the base-clearing void, there’s little more the Nationals need from an offensive standpoint. It comes down to their young starting pitchers making strides. Plus, the Nationals now have payroll flexibility given their trade deadline moves, meaning they can offer Schwarber a lofty contract, as opposed to the one-year pact they gave him a year ago.
The mentality that could prevent Schwarber from going back to D.C. is him preferring to play for a contender, as the Nationals are likely a couple years away from competing for the National League playoffs.
1. Kyle Schwarber bolsters Minnesota Twins
The Twins look a lot different, but their goal is to right the ship and at least get back to the American League Wild Card Game next season. Why? They have a talented offense. Schwarber is a superb fit in manager Rocco Baldelli’s depth chart.
The slugger would be the team’s everyday left fielder. He’d get some power back in the order, which was once a hallmark of the Twins’ roster. There’s also the possibility of him being the team’s designated hitter with Nelson Cruz out of the picture. In that scenario, the Twins could put Trevor Larnach or Alex Kirilloff in left.
Minnesota doesn’t need to embrace a full-fledged rebuild. An offense that includes Schwarber, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, Mitch Garver and Byron Buxton is a unit that should be in the top-10 of the sport in several major categories. All the while, the Twins could have an enticing starting rotation next season.
Kenta Maeda is typically a reliable right-handed starting pitcher. Maybe a couple of the Twins’ top pitching prospects (Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran and Simeon Woods Richardson) make it to the big leagues next season? Perhaps young starters like Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober make progress in 2022?
The AL Central is precarious and leaves wins for the taking, as the Chicago White Sox were the only team to post a winning record in the five-team cluster last season. Schwarber solidifies Minnesota’s outfield, one that has been hindered by injuries in recent memory, while helping their offense get back to being an intimidating unit for opposing pitching staffs. He checks a lot of boxes for the Twins.