When Kyle Schwarber signed with the Washingon Nationals his Chicago Cubs tenure officially came to an end. At least we have the 2016 postseason to remember him by.
When Kyle Schwarber hit .188 this past season, we saw the writing on the wall. When the Chicago Cubs decided not to tender him a contract earlier this offseason, his fate with the team was all but sealed. The relationship officially ended when Schwarber signed on the dotted line with the Washington Nationals, accepting a one year deal, with a guaranteed $10M and a mutual option for 2022.
With Willson Contreras rumored to be on the move, and Kris Bryant all but playing for the New York Mets already, the Cubs will look completely different next season.
Just five short years ago, they were winning the World Series. Now they are cutting payroll as if they were the Cincinnati Reds or Pittsburgh Pirates. Coincidentally, the three teams will be battling it out for who stays out of the cellar in the National League Central Division next year.
On that World Series team, Kyle Schwarber batted .412 and had three hits in the deciding Game 7 win over the Cleveland Indians.
The fact Schwarber was playing in the Fall Classic was somewhat remarkable in itself. He tore his ACL a week into the season, playing in just two games before going on the injured list for the remainder of the year and all of the playoffs, save the final series.
His hot hitting in the World Series is not what Cubs fans will remember though. Schwarber’s heroics the year earlier in the postseason, as a rookie, will be the images recalled when his name is mentioned moving forward.
As a 22 year-old, Schwarber had nine hits during the playoffs in 2015, five of which were home runs. In the Wild Card game that year he singled in the first run of the game and hit a two-run home run off Gerit Cole, propelling the Cubs to the Division Series.
Having homered earlier in the series, Schwarber launched a deep drive to right-field which landed on the video board for the signature moment of the clinching game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Schwarber struggled against the New York Mets in the National League Championship, collecting just two hits, both of which left the park. A Ruthian performance by Schwarber may not have done anything as the Cubs were swept.
After the World Series the following year, it was all downhill. He batted .211 in 2017 and .238 in 2018. He cranked 38 home runs in 2019 and hit rock bottom at .188 last year. Not wanting to pay the projected $8M-plus he’d make in arbitration, the Chicago Cubs non-tendered Schwarber.
As he packs his bags and heads to DC, Kyle Schwarber leaves us with the memories of better days.