Kyle Schwarber will return to the Cubs lineup tonight just a bit over six montha after tearing his ACL in the first week of the season. The 23-year old slugger brings tremendous power to the lineup, but if things had worked out differently, he might not have been a member of the Cubs this fall.
According to Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, Schwarber was a player the Royals coveted in trade talks back in July.
Schwarber was a guy the Royals inquired about trading for at the deadline. Cubs were reluctant, and it makes sense. https://t.co/qmPmqKutCm— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) October 25, 2016
According to Mellinger, the Cubs and Royals discussed a potential trade involving Royals closer Wade Davis this summer that would have involved Schwarber while he was out with an injury. Presumably the Royals would have been cutting bait on the 2016 season after their July slide and would have wanted to add Schwarber to help them in 2017 and the future. The Royals were rumored to be engaged in trade talks over Davis in July, with the Nationals, Giants, and Dodgers reportedly the most interested. The Cubs were certainly looking for an elite closer of their own, acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees on July 25 for a tremendous package of prospects. Davis went on the disabled list July 31.
Schwarber hit .246/.355/.487 with 16 home runs in 273 plate appearances in 2015, his rookie season. The left-handed hitter brings elite power, as demonstrated by the time he hit a ball on top of the Wrigley Field scoreboard. He is very defensively limited, originally coming up as a catcher and playing some poor outfield defense in the big leagues, so presumably he would have been the designated hitter in 2017, possibly moving to first base in 2018 if Eric Hosmer departed.
With Schwarber a candidate for post-season heroics, it seems less likely the two clubs would get together on a deal for him at this point. However, Royals fans might think of what might have been had Wade Davis not gotten hurt.