Kyle Schwarber Says Yankees Had 'Some Interest' Before Nationals Contract

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2021

Chicago Cubs' Kyle Schwarber rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Kyle Schwarber said he briefly spoke to the New York Yankees about potentially signing with the team before agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

"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," Schwarber said of the Yankees, per Peter Botte of the New York Post. "But nothing really came to fruition there."

There was some speculation New York would add the powerful left-handed bat to the lineup, but even general manager Brian Cashman said in December it was unlikely because of the lack of space at designated hitter.

"Schwarber's fantastic...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," Cashman said, per Anthony Rieber of Newsday.

If New York showed more interest, it seems like the slugger would have given the team consideration.

"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," he said Saturday. "But it didn't, and I'm really happy where I'm at."

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The 27-year-old is coming off a rough 2020 with the Chicago Cubs, hitting .188 in 59 games. Even with 11 home runs, his .701 OPS was the worst of his five seasons in the majors with at least three games played.

The Cubs non-tendered him in the offseason, leading to free agency a year earlier than expected.

Schwarber will have a chance to bounce back on a one-year deal in Washington, hoping to remind teams of the player who was a key part of the Cubs' World Series win in 2016. He isn't too far removed from a strong 2019 season where he hit 38 home runs with 92 RBI and a .871 OPS.

The Yankees would have obviously loved that type of production in 2021, but a healthy Stanton—plus the presumed rotation of Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit and others at DH—left no room for the free-agent addition.