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Kyle Schwarber had conversations with the Yankees early in the free-agency process, but those talks never advanced before the former Cubs outfielder signed Saturday with the Washington Nationals.
Schwarber, who was non-tendered by Chicago in December, inked a one-year deal worth $10 million with the Nats.
“I guess there was some interest there, there were some talks there early on, just checking in, things like that, seeing where I was at. But nothing really came to fruition there,” Schwarber said when asked about the Yankees on a Zoom call. “Obviously, the Yankees are the Yankees, and it would have been entertaining to hear what would have happened there and see if something could have happened. But it didn’t, and I’m really happy where I’m at.”
Schwarber called Washington “the No.1 place on my list to be” and his “first choice,” reuniting with manager Dave Martinez, a former Cubs bench coach.
The lefty-swinging Schwarber batted just .188 with a .701 OPS in 59 games for the Cubs in the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season, but he did hit 11 home runs in 191 at-bats. He had averaged 31 homers over the previous three seasons, including 38 with 92 RBIs in 2019.
“Definitely there’s a chip on my shoulder from the previous situation. It’s not ever ideal being non-tendered,” the 27-year-old Schwarber said. “I know that I’m a way better baseball player than I showed in 2020.”
General manager Brian Cashman said last month that Schwarber is a “fantastic” hitter, but he wasn’t a likely fit with the Yankees due to Giancarlo’s Stanton’s presence as the team’s primary designated hitter.
“He’s a threat at the plate – plate discipline with power. Clearly, we would expect him to do damage at Yankee Stadium whether he’s in an opposing uniform or our uniform,” Cashman said of Schwarber on Dec. 16 on WFAN. “But I’d say it’s a safer bet to play on Giancarlo Stanton remaining mostly in the DH role just because of the health history.
“We’ve had trouble keeping him on the field and we’ve seen, when he’s playing, he’s a massive threat and an impact player … I think limiting to a DH role, I think I’m becoming more resigned to that’s a better way for us to be served by making sure we have the impact on a consistent basis from him.”
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