Kyle Schwarber isn’t taking the field. After seeing this guy pick up a bat and mash after six months on the shelf rehabbing major knee surgery, the Cubs medical staff vetoed his return to the outfield. Cubs president Theo Epstein says much as they’d love to have his bat in the lineup, physically, he’s still not sound enough to play in the field.
This is why the doctors exist. To save us from ourselves. And in the case of the Cubs, to save them from taking an even bigger risk with a guy who is just half a year removed from ACL and LCL surgery.
“This was a complete blowout of his knee,” Epstein told reporters. “There is just too much risk associated with playing the field and we have to look out for Kyle’s long-term interests.”
And as much as this guy’s bat is elite — as much as his presence gives this team a boost — the Cubs will be fine.
Remember, they won 103 games without this guy. And while they have a great rotation and they mash, a big part of their identity and something that makes them so dangerous, is their: DEFENSE, maximizing their ability to get outs when a ball is put into play, something you can’t do if you’ve got your left fielder hiding on the warning track. Or surrounded by traffic cones and a snow fence.
So while some of you spent the last 24 hours thinking about ways your bar league softball shift might help the Cubbies, or deploying that kickball rover to cover up for Schwarber, the Cubs will chase these three wins at home with the deadliest pinch hitting option in the series — with Maddon now likely to use Schwarber as another piece in his chess match with Terry Francona.
Just seeing this guy show up and mash on the sport’s biggest stage is already one of the best things ever. And to see him pick up a glove would be even better. But they don’t need him to beat the Indians. And it’s just not worth the risk.
You can’t just have this guy stand in the outfield and tell him not to move laterally. Wait for the ball to find you: you don’t go looking for the ball. Sure, it was easy to get caught up in the Freak that this guy is: that if he could just up show and rake like that, why can’t he just pick up his glove. How hard could that be. Well, much harder than it looks. And even more dangerous. The Cubs are doing the right thing here. In fact, if you really think about it, it’s a no-brainer.