As players exercise their opt-out clauses and declare free agency, another former Cub is hitting the open market. After a splendid 2021 season between the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox, Kyle Schwarber is a free agent to sign wherever he chooses.
Over the course of 113 games between Washington and Boston, the left-handed hitter slashed .266/.374/.554 with 32 home runs and 71 RBIs. The former Chicago first-round pick rebounded rather nicely from his down 2020 season. In fact, Schwarber's .266 average in 2021 was the highest of his career.
Now, the Indiana product has a chance to capitalize on his sensational 2021 campaign, especially once he landed in Boston, to sign a multi-year deal. Schwarber signed for one season with the Nationals with a mutual option. However, he has declined the option and will seek a larger payday on the open market.
A Return to Chicago?
Of course, Cubs fans are screaming from the rooftops to bring Schwarber back to Chicago. In fact, this is certainly a possibility. Schwarber really finds value in Chicago if the DH comes to the National League in 2022. If the new CBA creates the opening, Schwarber returning to the Cubs is something Jed Hoyer and company should absolutely explore.
Entering the 2022 season, the Cubs have a lineup full of contact hitters with just a few power guys. Possible additions of Nicholas Castellanos and now Schwarber would bring power from both sides of the plate to the Cubs. In addition, with a lineup that strikes out less as a whole than the 2020 team did, Schwarber may have a different level of success in a potential second stint on the North Side.
There is no guarantee that Schwarber returns to Chicago. A lot of that will depend on his asking price. While in Boston during the second half, Schwarber slashed .291/.435/.522 in 41 games. He only hit seven home runs (compared to the 25 he hit in Washington) but was a huge part of Boston's late-season and postseason success.
Only time will tell, but there is another former Cub officially on the free-agent market that Cubs fans would love to see return to Wrigley Field in 2022.