Who says the All-Star Game hangover period is boring? First we got news that Donn Roach had been claimed by the Reds and now comes word that Kyle Schwarber will be rejoining the Cubs in Atlanta after Miguel Montero’s injury was found to be significant.
With Miggy set to miss at least 2 weeks and as many as 6, according to at least one report, my initial thought was that Schwarber would immediately assume a big share of the catching duties. After all, you don’t call a guy up just to have him sit. But that doesn’t appear to be the case, at least not right away.
Schwarber is being called up, but not to be the everyday catcher. Cubs will carry three catchers and KS will get some time behind plate.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 16, 2015
But here’s the thing: given this team’s offensive struggles, I see no way they can proceed with Taylor Teagarden and David Ross earning two-thirds of the reps behind the plate. This isn’t some new concept though, as Joe Maddon was forced to juggle three backstops to start the season, an experiment that actually worked well.
I foresee a situation in which David Ross starts the second half as the primary catcher, with Schwarber as No. 2 and Teagarden mopping up. Schwarber will likely come in to pinch-hit for either of his colleagues in late-game situations too, particularly in close games. You’ve got the added wrinkle of Schwarber being the lone lefty in the trio too, which should earn him more AB’s as his comfort level grows.
And then, or course, there’s the potential for some time in left field, though I’m not sure that’s anything other than a last resort. You’ve already got a lefty out there — and one who’s been hitting really well over the past couple months, to boot– in Coghlan, and I’d rather swap Schwarber’s offense for Ross’s any day of the week.
I had not seen this move coming; in fact, I had gone so far as to say that the Cubs wouldn’t call Schwarber up to fill in for an injured Montero. But in calling the slugging former Hoosier back up, the Cubs are saying quite a lot about their intentions and expectations for the remainder of the season.
My belief had been that the front office would be content to ride out the season and let the chips fall where the would, relative to the standings. This move, however, signals to me that they are going to be aggressive in pursuing a playoff spot. And while I don’t think that’ll include a move for a front-line starter, it does mean they’re serious about addressing the obvious, and more pressing, offensive issues.
Im really looking forward to seeing Schwarber hit again, but I’m much more excited to see how he looks behind the plate at this level. One way or the other, it’s going to be a lot of fun. So buckle up, folks, because the second half is shaping up to be a heck of a ride.