On Monday, Ken Rosenthal reported (subscription required) that the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs have had discussions about a potential trade to ship Kyle Schwarber to the Bronx. The Yankees’ interest in the 26-year-old left fielder is not new, as New York has had eyes on him since at least 2016. This is definitely an intriguing option for the Yanks, but with six outfielders already on the current roster, where would he fit if he were to join the team?
It’s no secret that the Yankees are looking for a left-handed bat in the lineup. They’ve already lost Didi Gregorius, and as the roster is currently constructed, the only lefty bats are Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, Mike Ford and Tyler Wade. If you didn’t understand why the Yankees would have interest in another outfielder at first, it may be clearer now. It’s all because of Schwarber being a powerful southpaw in the box.
Schwarber, who has been in the league since 2015, is coming off one of, if not the best season he’s had thus far. He slashed .250/.339/.531 in 2019 with a .817 OPS and 120 wRC+. He can really mash, and it seems he could unlock even more potential and thrive in a hitter-friendly park like Yankee Stadium.
After tearing his ACL in 2016 in the first week of the season, Schwarber has proved his durability, playing in over 125 games a year since his injury, including 155 last season. The ability to stay on the field is obviously crucial for any player, and he’s shown he hasn’t lost a step from his freak injury.
Now, let’s get to the main reason the Yankees can’t take their eyes off of him. This past season, Schwarber smashed 38 home runs, which would have been tied for most on the Yankees with Gleyber Torres. Since 2017, he has hit 94 bombs (ninth-most in NL), and has driven in 212 runs (22nd-best in NL).
He would fit in perfectly with the Bombers’ lineup as he was among the league’s top-ten in barrel percentage, exit velocity and expected slugging percentage. Not to mention finishing in the top 1% of the league in hard-hit percentage. There’s no doubt he’d be another threat in the lineup to hit one into the bleachers, especially with the short porch in right. If you want a glimpse of the damage he can do to a baseball, check this out:
As of now, left field is occupied by Tauchman, Giancarlo Stanton and Clint Frazier. Brett Gardner will most likely start the season in center due to the injury of Aaron Hicks. Schwarber doesn’t have the best glove in the field, costing his team -11 DRS through his four seasons. He also has a below-average outfield jump and an awful outs above average ranking, according to Statcast. The best Yankee-comparison for him would probably be Stanton, but Stanton is still the better player in both aspects of the game. Schwarber could see time in left if acquired by New York, as well as being the team’s DH. Though, his playing time would most likely decrease from what he’s used to in Chicago because of the overflow of talent that the Yankees have in the outfield.