For the Cubs, their biggest addition before MLB's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline may already have happened.
In his first 15 career games, Cubs rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber has been on an absolute tear, showing the front office that they may not need to boost the roster, at least from an offensive standpoint, for the last two months of the season. Heading into Sunday's series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies, the first round pick of the Cubs in the 2014 MLB Draft has a .391/.429/.674 slash line with three homers, 11 RBI and a 1.102 OPS.
The 22-year-old Ohio native has shown a tremendous hit tool in his short time in the majors, but his work behind the plate is what the Cubs want to see him improve.
And Schwarber is more than willing to put in the work.
"He's really gets after anything he wants to do," Maddon said. "He sits with [Mike] Borzello when he's not playing. He's wide-eyed. He asks good questions. He's in there man. He's definitely engaged mentally and that's what he has to be. Physically, he's gotten better too. Physically, they've worked through some issues with his receiving and everything. He's doing a really good job."
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer has also seen the progress with Schwarber.
"Pitchers know how hard he works before the game," Hoyer said. "They see the effort and I think that goes a long way with a pretty veteran pitching staff to know how hard he's going to work. The whole game is a work in progress. Certainly the catching is something he'll continue to work on.
"But as we said all along, he sees himself as a catcher and he says he wants to be seen as a catcher first. That mentality is gonna go a long way with the pitching staff."
Currently, Maddon isn't using Schwarber behind the plate when Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester are on the mound. Schwarber has gotten the bulk of his catching duties with Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks on the mound.
But there may be more to that than just not using an inexperienced rookie with veteran pitchers.
"When somebody comes up and they're doing extremely well everybody wants a taste of that on a daily basis," Maddon said. "When he came up we talked to him about specifically how he's going to play here and that's what we've been doing. I've always thought why don't you consider the fact that maybe the way that we're playing him bleeds into the fact that he's playing so well too."
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While Cubs fans may want to see Schwarber's bat in the lineup each night, Maddon is being extremely cautious, especially for the way he handles a player that's never played a full 162-game season.
"Be careful what you ask for sometimes, folks," Maddon said. "He's got two more months plus to play yet. Just keep him healthy, keep him well, keep his mind and his body good and then he can help you when it really matters too.
"You can't take a young guy like that and just wring him out to dry. I'm telling you that it goes away."