Multiple reports—by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and the Miami Herald’s Craig Mish and Barry Jackson—indicate that the Miami Marlins have shown interest in free agent Kyle Schwarber. The 2016 World Series hero split time between with the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox this season (399 AB, 76 R, 106 H, 32 HR, 71 RBI, 1 SB, .266, BA, .374 OBP, .928 OPS) and earned his first career All-Star selection.
Let’s take a look at the potential positives and negatives of adding Kyle Schwarber to this team.
Schwarber was arguably the hottest hitter in baseball during an extended stretch of the 2021 season. In June and July, he mashed 16 home runs in just 29 games with a .288/.372/.760 slash line. That included an unforgettable visit to LoanDepot Park (.333 BA, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 5 H, .933 SLG, .444 OBP, 1.378 OPS).
Year after year, Schwarber has ranked among the MLB leaders in barrel rate and max exit velocity, according to Statcast. He’s naturally gifted with the bat in a way that very few players are, so the pitcher-friendly conditions in Miami should not affect him too much. His combination of discipline and power would make the Marlins offense far better than it’s been recently.
Despite only entering his age-29 season, the Herald reports that Schwarber was seeking a reasonable three-year contract length when the lockout struck. Doing that would still allow the Marlins to remain financially flexible for the back half of this decade.
Schwarber fits best as the DH of the Marlins if he were to sign, but he can also play left field. That would give the Marlins a projected outfield of Avisaíl García in CF and Jesús Sánchez in RF.
Schwarber’s defensive limitations would make him a manager’s headache. He has mainly been a left fielder in the majors, and not a good one (minus-13 defensive runs saved at the position in his career). Forming a starting outfield with fellow big guys García and Sánchez would cost the Marlins on balls in the gaps.
The Red Sox also experimented with Schwarber at first base, but the results weren’t any better.
The problem with Schwarber as the Marlins’ designated hitter is it still hasn’t been confirmed whether or not the universal DH will be included in the new MLB collective bargaining agreement. Even if it is, adding him means inconsistent playing time for Garrett Cooper and Jesús Aguilar, or perhaps being pressured into selling low on them coming off season-ending surgeries.
Schwarber’s reported asking price over three years is $60 million, which would be even bigger than García’s deal or any other contract given out by new Marlins ownership. The Red Sox and Phillies are among the others teams also interested in him, so that price could go up. Are the Marlins comfortable making somebody with a limited skill set their highest-paid player?
All things considered, Schwarber to Miami is a must in my personal opinion. He would be an absolute monster on offense. Trading Aguilar or Cooper in a corresponding move should bring back some young talent in return. Schwarber’s projected contract is a fair value, even if they ultimately have to go a little higher to outbid the other teams. I would definitely expect more fans to plan their trips to watch the Marlins in person if they could count on seeing Schwarber batting in the heart of the lineup.
What do you guys think?