Giancarlo Stanton‘s trade to the Yankees on Saturday, while still unofficial as of Sunday morning, sent ripple effects through the rest of the league. Those who didn’t manage to trade for the Marlins’ slugger (or two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, for that matter) appear to be kicking the tires on every other viable player, as is the nature of the Hot Stove season. Scott Lauber of ESPN Boston reports that the Red Sox have expressed interest in Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber, whom they envision as a strong asset at DH.
Schwarber, 24, completed his third run with the Cubs in 2017. After missing all but two games of the 2016 season while recovering from knee surgery, he bounced back with a .211/.355/.487 batting line and a career-best 30 home runs and .256 ISO in 486 plate appearances. While he has yet to return to the .293-BABIP, 1.8-fWAR ways of his rookie campaign, Lauber notes that Schwarber remains a favorite of club president Theo Epstein, which presumably makes any trade a difficult one.
The Red Sox don’t appear to have made a formal offer for Schwarber, and it’s not yet clear whether the Cubs would even listen to a trade proposition involving their former top-5 prospect. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat offers this insight from Epstein:
[Schwarber] has got certain toughness and leadership qualities that are hard to find that we don’t necessarily have in surplus and in abundance in the clubhouse,” Epstein said. “He has a certain energy and grit and ability to bring people together, and that’s important. The biggest thing is his bat. We think he’s the type of offensive player who you build around along with a couple other guys.
Assuming the Cubs would ask for a substantial return for the outfielder/backup catcher, the Red Sox may not have much to offer in a deal. Per Lauber’s report, Boston depleted most of their farm system depth to get big names like Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel and others, and may not have enough left in the tank to convince the already-reluctant Cubs to part with one of their favorite players.