The Chicago Cubs have decided to non-tender outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. This is just the start of what looks to be a busy off-season for the organization. The Schwarber move comes as sort of a surprise. There were some talks that he could return, or be included in possible trades. He’s the first relatively big-name starter that the Cubs have decided to move on from. The 27-year old has been Chicago’s best power hitter for most of his career, however, his homers don’t tell the whole story.
Good friends Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. both non-tendered by the Cubs today. Both helped the Cubs to the 2016 WS.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) December 3, 2020
Although he can hit the cover off the ball, Schwarber has always had a tough time making consistent contact. In his career, he has a slash line of .230/.336/.480. Many of his teammates have been struggling at the plate as well because of their inability to hit the high fastball. Chicago’s front office knew that their lineup needed to be shaken up, and it appears they are doing just that. They will have a vacant spot in the outfield with Schwarber’s departure. That will be yet another question mark left for new president Jed Hoyer to answer.
Certainly, Cubs fans will remember Schwarber as an unforgiving player at the plate. There’s no question that his legacy with the team will be a positive one. He showcased devastating power, especially against right-handers, and was a key asset in some playoff runs. One swing from him could change the game in an instant, but it seemed those moments have started to come less often. He was beginning to be a home run-or-bust player. Add on his below-average play in the field, and you can’t blame the organization for letting him go. His skillset will land him on a roster next year either way. Expect him to receive offers from AL teams specifically because he’d be a great candidate at designated hitter.
As for Albert Almora, he never performed up to his expectations. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 1st round of the 2012 draft. Now, eight years later he will be looking to land with a new team. Recently, he has been mainly used for his defensive ability late in ball games. There hasn’t been much success for him at the plate, which has kept him from seeing much action in the past two years. He is batting .271/.309/.398 in his career, and those numbers were even worse in 2020.
Overall, it was much less surprising to see his non-tender announcement because his production with the team has been more than lackluster. Chicago will be able to find a better player to replace him for a reasonable price. They have been holding out on him for far too long, particularly because of where they selected him in the draft. As of right now, it’s safe to say Almora was a bust for the Cubs. With him and Schwarber gone, that makes two former first-round picks off the roster. There may be a third by the end of the winter. That’s if the organization executes a trade headlined by Kris Bryant, who fortunately won’t be non-tendered like some of his fellow teammates. Bryant didn’t meet the same fate because of his star status, and the attention he should draw from possible suitors.
Wild Off-Season Ahead
In other news, Jose Martinez has also been non-tendered. Martinez had an awful stint with the team after being acquired at the trade deadline. They didn’t give up much for him, but it was a failed experiment nonetheless. It doesn’t look like the Cubs will be complacent this off-season. There is no room for them to be content with the current roster. Based off the last few seasons, there needs to be some major changes at this team’s core. Jed Hoyer knows this and hasn’t shied away from talking about it. They may be in for a wild off-season.
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