Boston Red Sox: Kyle Schwarber a low-risk, high-reward addition

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 25: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Washington Nationals bats against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on June 25, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 25: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Washington Nationals bats against the Miami Marlins at loanDepot park on June 25, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Blockbuster trades went elsewhere. A trade for a starting pitcher did not materialize. The best of the three trades the Boston Red Sox made involved an injured player. A trade that possibly carries the lowest risk in this underwhelming trade deadline for Boston.

The trade for outfielder Kyle Schwarber might very well deliver the highest reward, too.

It was a trade deadline eve deal that saw the Red Sox acquire Scwarber from the Washington Nationals. In exchange, Boston traded away the no. 19 prospect in their organization, pitcher Aldo Ramirez.

A bit of a steal for Schwarber, who 16 home runs in a 69 at-bat stretch in June.  The 28-year-old outfielder has hit 25 home runs this season and can provide help in a variety of ways.

Schwarber also brings to the Red Sox a player with playoff experience and was a World Series champion with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, where he hit .412 in the series.

The first step: getting Schwarber back from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him since early July.

Boston Red Sox added needed power

The good news on the injury front is Schwarber took batting practice on Friday. If anything, this should be a good indication he’ll be back sooner rather than later.

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Schwarber isn’t going to hit for a high average, though this season’s mark of .253 is the best of his career. It is the long ball from Schwarber that is desired. Since the start of the 2017 season, he has hit 130 home runs, with a career-best 38 in 2019 with the Cubs.

The acquisition of Schwarber came as somewhat of surprise.  Focus for the Boston Red Sox had been adding a lefty bat, yes, but all signs had seemed to point to Boston acquiring Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs.

Rizzo, instead, found his way to the New York Yankees. And while Schwarber provides a strong presence from the left side of the plate, there’s still a power void at first base for the Red Sox.

A possibility at first base for Boston Red Sox

It’s been mix-and-match for the Red Sox at first base this season, with a revolving door of players trying to provide consistency at that position.

Bobby Dalbec hasn’t quite progressed as expected. He’s shown brief glimpses this season but has only 5 hits in his last 29 at-bats. Dalbec has struck out 14 times in his span and has not hit a home run since June 28.

Will Schwarber be the answer? Well, he and his one career game at first base might have only a little say in the matter. The Red Sox will likely try him out there, but unless he’s doing well over, he’ll be inserted into the outfield rotation. Trouble there is that Schwarber primarily plays left field, which Alex Verdugo has locked down this season.

Schwarber could also play DH and might also see time at the top of the batting order as well.

There is definite hope surrounding his arrival and eventually taking advantage of the short porch in right field. A lot is still up in the air, but I would hope he bats in the lower third of the lineup, where much needed power is needed.

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The Red Sox didn’t have to give up too much in what could very well be a short-term rental in Schwarber. (Be sure to ask again, however, years down the road to see if Ramirez has developed into the next Pedro Martinez). Boston didn’t have to trade multiple assets, making this investment in Schwarber low-risk and one that hopefully provides high-rewards down the stretch.