The Boston Red Sox will have to pay a pretty penny if they hope to bring back Kyle Schwarber this offseason.
Schwarber is one of the most coveted sluggers on the free-agent market after his stellar 2021 campaign with the Red Sox and Washington Nationals. The 28-year-old set himself up for a significant payday after belting 32 home runs and posting a .928 OPS in 113 games. Sixteen of those homers came in the month of June, when he was named National League Player of the Month.
Recent reports state the Red Sox, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Colorado Rockies are among the several teams interested in inking Schwarber to a deal. The Miami Herald shed some light on how much the 2016 World Series champion is demanding in free agency:
The Marlins have reached out on both Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. But Castellanos, at this point, is viewed as too expensive.
Schwarber ultimately might be, too, but the Marlins remain in contention for him; the current asking price is a three-year deal in the $60 million range, and the Marlins must decide if they’re willing to go that high.
The Red Sox have been relatively conservative in free agency thus far. Their most notable additions -- starting pitchers Michael Wacha, James Paxton, and Rich Hill -- were each signed to budget-friendly short-term contracts. But Boston's decision to bring Gold Glove center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. home and send right fielder Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee could play a big role in how they approach the Schwarber situation.
If the Red Sox sign Schwarber, they could put him in left field and roll with Bradley in center, Alex Verdugo in right, and Kiké Hernandez at second base. The issue is it would make Boston's lineup left-handed heavy, something chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom acknowledged in his press conference after the JBJ deal.
"Obviously swapping Hunter for Jackie does change the handedness of our group a little bit. So maybe the dial moves a little more toward a right-handed bat where before it might have been towards a left-handed bat," Bloom said. "But there’s different ways it can come together with the versatility and flexibility that we have. So we’re going to keep looking to supplement.”
It'll likely be a while before Schwarber finds his home for 2022. Major League Baseball entered a lockout Wednesday night after failing to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. It's the league's first work stoppage since 1994-95.