Former Cub Kyle Schwarber: ‘I didn’t get screwed’ by non-tender

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Kyle Schwarber: ‘I didn’t get screwed’ by Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Former Cubs postseason hero Kyle Schwarber pushed back Tuesday on the idea that he got “screwed” by the Cubs last winter when they non-tendered him rather than tender him a contract subject to arbitration.

It was part of a question, during an interview on ESPN-1000’s Waddle & Silvy show, regarding getting his “just due” in free agency this winter after the Cubs’ move last winter that resulted in Schwarber signing a one-year deal with the Nationals for $10 million.

“One, I didn’t get screwed,” Schwarber said. “I’ll be the first to admit it: I sucked last year. I underperformed. There’s no excuse to that, just because it’s 60 games; I still underperformed.”

The comments Tuesday echoed a sentiment he expressed in September during a conversation with NBC Sports Chicago, in which he called the non-tender "turned out to be one of the better things that could have happened for me in my career."

Schwarber, who rebounded this year with an All-Star season, hit a career-low .188 with a career-low .701 OPS in 59 games during the pandemic-shortened 60-game season in 2020.

Despite a hamstring injury this season, he rebounded with 32 homers and career highs in hitting (.266) and OPS (.928) ion 113 games for the Nats and Red Sox — finishing the season in the playoffs with Boston after a deadline trade in July.

The Cubs faced a likely $8 million to $9 million salary commitment in 2021 with Schwarber through the arbitration process if they’d kept him during a winter of significant cost cutting.

“Going into this year, [I] was just trying to go out there and … prove to other people that you’re the that you know you are in a full season,” he told Waddle & Silvy.

Schwarber, 28, significantly raised his stock with his rebound season. And the likelihood the designated hitter will be added to the National League in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, starting next year, would only seem to add to that stock value.

He talked around a question Tuesday about possibly joining the White Sox — who could be in the market for a left-handed bat like his — and made a point not to rule out any possible destination.

“I’m very excited going into the offseason,” he said. “Obviously, there’s going to be some unknowns in terms of the CBA and things like that, but hopefully that doesn’t hold things up, and we can get this thing rolling.”

The current CBA expires at the end of Dec. 1. Without an agreement by then, many in the game expect a lockout by the owners until an agreement can be reached.

Schwarber’s interview on ESPN-1000 marked the fifth anniversary of the Cubs winning the World Series — during which Schwarber returned from a devastating knee injury to DH in the four games in Cleveland after missing all but the first three games of the season.

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