March 2, 2021

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Cubs Non-Tender Schwarber, Almora; Agree to Contracts with Key Bullpen Arms, What This Means For The Future

By: Hector Duran

The Cubs made some roster moves last night with the deadline to tender/non-tender some players that were unsigned. First off, you’re probably asking: “What does it mean to tender or non-tender someone?”  Well, I am going to break that down as simple as I can.  Essentially, the Cubs came to an agreement with some key arms that had a good season.  Those guys were Colin Rea, Dan Winkler, and the southpaw Kyle Ryan.  All of these guys agreed to contracts for the 2021 campaign so they will avoid arbitration.  

5 players, and some pretty big names, were tendered contracts for 2021.  These guys are Javy Baez, Kris Bryant, Victor Caratini, Willson Contreras, and Ian Happ. With their contracts being tendered for 2021, the exact amount is still unknown but that will be figured out between now and sometime in February.  

Unfortunately, and maybe as expected, the Cubs have non-tendered Almbert Almora Jr., Kyle Schwarber, Jose Martinez, and MVP Candidate Ryan Tepera.  With the Cubs deciding to non-tender them a contract, this now makes these 4 guys free agents. 

Schwarber and Almora were fan favorites but this should not come as a surprise to anyone. Almora lost his starting job to Ian Happ and never regained the confidence needed.  He would be a late inning sub for defense and get the occasional start against a lefty but other than that, he was hardly seen on the field. As for Schwarber, he struggled in 2020 hitting just .188 after coming off a great 2019 season where he set some career highs.  

Almora will be most remembered for 2016 and especially Game 7 of the World Series.  If you need me to refresh your memory, allow me to do so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65JrtwtTOdc. He came on to pinch run in the 10th for (you guessed it) Schwarber, and the rest is history.  Almora is still only 26 years old and has some good upside.  He just needs consistent playing time, but he was not getting that on the north side, so it is not really shocking to see the Cubs part ways with him. Best of luck to Albert on wherever he may sign.

As for Schawber, 27, although he has made great strides with his defense, I think he will be better suited in the American League and mainly used as a DH. Schwarber has had some great memories in a Cubs uniform.  He was a great guy for the city and did some awesome charity work.  As on the diamond, my biggest memory of him would have to be either his home run in the 2015 Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E39GL1n9_k4) or in the NLDS against the Cardinals where he parked one on top of the right field scoreboard to help eliminate the Cards from the playoffs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlJJfyatUNo). I have no clue where Schwarber will sign now but wherever he does, that team will be getting a great bat and a fantastic person.

What does this mean for the Cubs in the short-term future?  This is the first move of Jed Hoyer as his role as the Executive VP of Baseball Operations and taking over for Theo Epstein.  I think that with Schwarber gone, we may see more of Kris Bryant in left field and David Bote at 3rd base on a more regular basis. With coming to agreement on a contract with the bullpen arms, they Cubs have already locked up some key bullpen guys who had a good 2020.  The bullpen was one of, if not the biggest weak spot of the team so getting some arms now is a great start in my opinion. I am excited to see where Jed takes the team and what vision he has going forward.