The Washington Nationals have agreed to a deal with outfielder Kyle Schwarber, a potential free agency target for the New York Yankees. Schwarber’s deal with the 2019 World Series champions is worth one-year and $10 million.
The Yankees reportedly had “some” interest in the 27-year-old, who’s entering his seventh big league season. The lefty was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs this off-season after a disappointing 2020 campaign.
Schwarber made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2015, just one year after being drafted fourth overall out of Indiana University. Despite just a .246 average, Schwarber tallied 16 home runs and 43 RBI, good for a .842 OPS and 130 OPS+.
Just two games into the 2016 season, Schwarber collided with fellow outfielder Dexter Fowler, resulting in a torn ACL and a trip to the IL for the remainder of the season.
Schwarber struggled once he returned in 2017, resulting in a trip to AAA to work on his swing. He improved later in the season and finished with .782 OPS and a 99 OPS+.
2018 and 2019 treated Schwarber much better, tallying above average stats. His OPS was over .870 in 2019, driving in 92 runs. However, 2020 was much worse for him, batting just .188 and leading to his non-tender by the Cubs.
Schwarber joins a Nationals team hungry to return to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Washington could never really get things going in the shortened 2020 season and missed the expanded playoffs. Schwarber is the second major acquisition for the Nationals, as they traded for first baseman Josh Bell earlier in the off-season.
For the Yankees, missing out on Schwarber isn’t a huge deal. Signing him would be a bit risky, as his performance has been up and down over the years. Plenty of better-fitting outfielders, like Michael Brantley, remain on the market for the Yankees.