(Washington) As they both meet with the Washington Nationals, Kyle Schwarber remembers pranking Dave Martinez when they were wearing Chicago Cubs colors.
Updated January 9, 2021
“He used to tell me that when he got a job as a manager, he would come find me,” Schwarber recalled. This is now the case. »
The outfielder, who had a very strong 2019 season but a tougher 2020, signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Nationals. The powerhouse slugger also mentioned Saturday that his relationship with Martinez played a big role in his decision.
“Dave was a huge influence on me in baseball,” Schwarber said, noting that Martinez helped him make the transition from catcher to outfielder. I adore her. I’m excited to play for him. He likes to win and cares about his players. »
Schwarber will pocket $7 million this season and both sides have an option worth $11.5 million for 2022 if exercised. If not, the contract guarantees an additional three million.
Schwarber had been available as a free agent since last month when the Chicago Cubs didn’t make him a contract offer. He helped them win the World Series in 2016 after missing most of the season with a left knee injury.
He was selected by the Cubs fourth overall in the 2014 draft and has shown he can hit a lot of home runs and a lot of strikeouts.
The 27-year-old outfielder struggled hitting last season, hitting just .188 and a .701 power average with the Cubs.
In the 2019 season, Schwarber hit 38 long balls and drove in 92 runs. He had a batting average of .250 and a presence plus power average of .871. These are all the highs of his career.
“I don’t worry too much about 2020 because I know it doesn’t represent me. I still have to step back and see what went wrong and make adjustments, she said. After 2019, which had been a good year for me, 2020 was more difficult. I will learn from this. »
Schwarber could fill two needs for the Nationals, being a corner outfielder as well as being a power hitter who can protect 22-year-old star Juan Soto.
“When you look at Soto, despite his age, I think he’s probably the best hitter in the league,” Schwarber insisted.
Unless the designated hitter rule at NL returns for the 2021 season, it looks like Schwarber will start the season in left field. Soto would slide from left field to right field.
The Nats went 26-34 in 2020 and finished tied for last place in the Nats East Division, a year after winning their first World Series title.