Kyle Schwarber clearly won his breakup with the Cubs

Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals

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With news of his deal with the Washington Nationals, Kyle Schwarber won his breakup with the Chicago Cubs.

With the Chicago Cubs motivated to trim payroll, it was not a surprise when they non-tendered outfielder Kyle Schwarber rather than go to arbitration or give him a  one-year deal commensurate with that projected figure.

Schwarber seems like a fit for the American League, where he can DH regardless of a universal DH rule. But on Saturday Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reported the Washington Nationals will sign Schwarber to a one-year. Subsequent reporting says the deal is worth $10 million, with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale adding the $10 million guaranteed to Schwarber includes a $3 million buyout of a $11 million mutual option for 2022.

Schwarber had a rough 2020 campaign, with a .188/.308/.393 slash-line, 66 strikeouts, 30 walks and 11 home runs over 224 plate appearances. But from 2017-2019 he hit 94 home runs, with a high of 38 in 2019, so the level of rumored interest he was getting was easily explained.

Kyle Schwarber won his breakup with the Cubs

It’s fair to question the smarts of the Nationals signing Schwarber in some respects. But he’s joining a very good lineup, which has been bolstered by the addition of Josh Bell this offseason. So a rebound season before the chance to hit the market again next winter is in order.

Schwarber was projected to make between $7-$9 million in his final year of arbitration this year, and coming of a down year the low end was easier to see. So he’s at least really hit close to what he would have made, with the additional $3 million coming to him if the buyout for next year is not exercised. The fact it’s a mutual option is worth noting. So he can either take the $11 million for 2022 (if the Nationals want to exercise their end), or hit free agency with an eye on more.

The Cubs didn’t trade Schwarber at a peak in his value. Then they let him go for nothing, before he would have hit free agency and at least netted them a draft pick.

On the flipside, Schwarber got a favorable deal with a team that’s trying to win and willing to make moves to do so. And the Nationals may have a far better lineup by the time Opening Day comes. So the verdict on this breakup clearly goes to Schwarber, and the subsequent results do not matter.

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