ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers dispels the notion that the Cubs will (or even that they should) shop Kyle Schwarber this offseason due to his perceived defensive shortcomings. While Schwarber undeniably struggled in the outfield this postseason, Rogers notes that no one was clamoring for such a move in the regular season. Schwarber logged about 300 innings in the outfield during the regular season, and while his inexperience showed, he wasn’t egregiously bad over that sample of games, either. It’s hardly a representative sample, but Rogers notes that extrapolating Schwarber’s Defensive Runs Saved mark to a full season would leave him about 10 to 13 runs below average, and his bat is capable of making up the difference. He also points out that with his work ethic, Schwarber has plenty of time to improve at a position that’s still pretty new to him. I’d agree that the notion of trading Schwarber — which I’ve heard from many fans — is an overreaction, to say the least. Over the course of a full season between the outfield corners and behind the plate, I’d expect Schwarber’s bat to make him a plenty valuable player, even if he doesn’t develop into an everyday catcher or above-average outfield defender.
Elsewhere in the NL Central…
- Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review examines whether or not the Pirates should be bidders for Korean first baseman Byung-ho Park. Sawchik spoke to former MLB scout Daniel Kim, who said that the posting fee for Park could be at least double the $5MM Pittsburgh bid to secure negotiation rights with Park’s former Nexen Heroes teammate, Jung Ho Kang. Sawchik writes that as many as 20 teams have scouted Park, with the Rangers having sent “top executives” to watch him. Sawchik also points out the presence of top prospect Josh Bell, who isn’t far from the Majors and projects as a power-hitting first baseman himself. While Bell could be a trade chip, the Pirates also need to address the starting rotation, so perhaps spending money on Park while an internal option is present isn’t the optimal use of their resources. The Pirates, like other MLB clubs, don’t have too long to decide, as Park will be posted next Monday with bids due by next Friday.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bill Brink writes that the Pirates have at least cursory interest in Park, reminding that they applied for credentials to watch him earlier this season. However, he also notes that Kang’s success will probably boost the market’s valuation of Park, possibly pricing him out of the range of Pittsburgh, who also has $8MM committed to Mike Morse next year. Earlier today, Sawchik examined at length how Kang’s success could drive up the market for Park.
- While no one’s quite certain whether or not the Reds will trade Aroldis Chapman this winter, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Nationals would be at the forefront of trade talks for Cincinnati’s All-Star closer this offseason should they listen to offers. The D-Backs, of course, pursued Chapman aggressively prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, while the Nats could have a very different-looking bullpen next year. Drew Storen seems like an obvious trade candidate, and the Nationals will almost certainly shop Jonathan Papelbon this winter as well.