As the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes continues, the teams that were eliminated earlier in the week, have begun to start their plan B’s. While the Cubs are still in the picture for Ohtani, they still have a few holes that may need to be resolved via trade.
One of the more popular ideas this offseason has to send off World Series hero Kyle Schwarber in hopes his massive power can attract a team enough to part with starting pitching. It has yet to be seen whether the Cubs would truly consider moving Schwarber, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating what a trade for the 24-year-old would cost teams.
Yankee beat writer John Harper from New York Daily News suggested this Yankees trade proposal for Kyle Schwarber, and I have to say, this seems light. Harper offers reliever Dellin Betances and minor league starter Chance Adams to bring Schwarber to the Bronx as their permanent DH.
Now, both arms are solid, I’m just not sure they are the type of players the Cubs would part with Schwarber for. Despite Schwarber’s disappointing 2017, he did turn it around some towards the end of the season.
Pretend you're Theo Epstein and the Yankees call offering Dellin Betances and Chance Adams for Kyle Schwarber… wyd? pic.twitter.com/ofkFGMi71M
— In The Loop (@NBCSInTheLoop) December 6, 2017
When Schwarber returned from his mid-season minor league stint, the slugger slashed .255/338/.565 with 18 home runs and a wRC+ of 131. Those numbers are much closer to his 2015 season when Schwarber mashed his way through his rookie season and flashed the 40-home run potential.
Theo Epstein hinted that the team would consider moving more of its depth this offseason, and if the Cubs do acquire Ohtani it would be hard to find playing time for both Schwarber and Ohtani in the outfield. A source also said that if Ohtani does come to Chicago, it likely means the Cubs will try to find a way to deal Schwarber.
However, I don’t think Betances and Adams are the two pieces the Cubs would be searching for in return. Betances, while with his warts, can be a dominating reliever in moments. The 29-year-old right-handed reliever sported an excellent 2.87 ERA, but his walks per nine innings shot up from 3.45 to 6.64 from 2016 to 2017.
The Cubs need more strike throwers, and I’m not sure if Betances is neccessarily consistent to fill that role for the Cubs bullpen. As for Chance Adams, who is currently the Yankees No. 2 prospect, the Cubs would love to add him to this roster. Just not at the cost of Schwarber.
While Adams’ has been great during his three years in the Yankee’s system, one alarming trend has been his strikeout totals. They have consistently gone down as Adams has worked his way through the minors as his innings totals have increased. His peripheral stats look solid in 2017 (8.04 K/9, 3.36 BB/9, .236 BABIP) and finished the year with a 2.89 ERA, but without the ability to mow people down, I doubt Adams ability to become a front-end starter.
Harper’s proposal isn’t terrible, it still makes sense for the Cubs and solves a need, but if the Cubs plan on moving Schwarber, the return would need to include a more proven starter. Unless the Yankees would consider trading Sonny Gray (a kid can dream) then I don’t see this deal panning out in favor for the Yankees.
But the biggest takeaway from Harper’s article is that Schwarber is no longer off limits. The Cubs are listening to trade offers including the slugger, and if the Cubs end up winning the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, it’s hard to envision the Cubs being able to hold onto Schwarber and get Ohtani his wanted plate appearances.