Schwarber signs one-year contract with Nationals

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Kyle Schwarber is headed to the Washington Nationals.

    Kyle Schwarber is headed to the Washington Nationals. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/9/2021 6:40 PM

Not long after the Cubs non-tendered Kyle Schwarber in early December, manager David Ross was asked about the popular slugger.

"Unfortunately for everybody, it didn't turn out the way he wanted or we wanted," Ross said. "We all love Kyle and what he's done here for the Cubs and would welcome him back with open arms. But I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of teams picking up the phone to call his agent."

 

The Nationals were one of those teams, and they signed Schwarber to a one-year contract worth a reported $10 million on Saturday.

"I told Rizz (Washington general manager Mike Rizzo) when we talked on the phone, I said, 'I'm not approaching this as a one-year deal,'" Schwarber told reporters on a Zoom call. "I'm going to come in, I'm going to give everything I have and I'm going to play as if I've been here five years and still have a couple more years left. I'm going to give everything I've got, I'm going to invest myself into winning and that's what I want to do here."

Never known for his defense during his six-year stay with the Cubs, Schwarber could have signed with an American League team and filled the designated hitter role.

Instead, he's joined Washington and is expected to remain in left field. The Nationals can move young star Juan Soto from left to right.

The National League used the DH last season but is not expected to have it this year.

Adam Eaton, Washington's primary right fielder the last four seasons, exited as a free agent and rejoined the White Sox on a one-year, $7 million contract with an $8.5 million club option for 2022.

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After leading the Cubs with 38 home runs in 2019, Schwarber hit 11 last season while batting .188 and striking out 66 times in 191 at-bats.

It was a down year, but the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 draft will always be remembered for helping the Cubs make the playoffs five times in the last six seasons.

As rookie in 2015, Schwarber lifted the Cubs to a 4-0 win over the Pirates in the wild-card game while going 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, highlighted by a 2-run homer off Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole that landed in the Allegheny River.

Moving on to the NLDS, he powered the Cubs over the Cardinals while going 5-for-10 with a pair of home runs. In Game 4 vs. St. Louis, Schwarber hit a home run at Wrigley Field that landed on top of the right-field scoreboard.

In 2016, Schwarber injured his knee in the second game of the regular season and was expected to miss the rest of the year.

He made it back for the World Series and helped the Cubs rally past the Indians for their first championship in 108 years while going 7-for-17.

"Coming off of '19, it was a great year for me, and then 2020 wasn't the best," the 27-year-old Schwarber said. "But I'm going to learn from that. Coming into 2021, I want to make those adjustments that I need to make and I'm going to come in fully ready to go. A little chip on the shoulder here, ready to come in and win another World Series with these guys."

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