Schwarber and the Nationals agree to a one-year, $ 10 million contract

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WASHINGTON – Slugging outfielder Kyle Schwarber has agreed in principle to a one-year, $ 10 million contract with the Washington Nationals, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity as a physical exam was still pending for Schwarber.

Schwarber was able to sign with any club after becoming a free agent last month, when he was not offered by the Chicago Cubs. He was a member of their drought-ending 2016 World Series championship team, hitting 0.412 in the Fall Classic after missing much of that season with a left knee injury.

Schwarber, 27, struggled at home during the pandemic-truncated 2020 season, hitting 0.188 with a 0.701 OPS for the Cubs. A year earlier, he had produced 38 home runs and 92 RBIs, a .250 batting average and .871 based and slugging percentage, all career-high.

He was the 4th overall pick in the 2014 Amateur Draft and has proven to deliver runs and strikeouts in clusters.

Schwarber is addressing two needs that Washington GM Mike Rizzo has described as the offseason approaches: a corner fielder and a powerful hitter to help protect NL batting champion Juan Soto in the lineup. .

Unless the designated hitter rule is brought back to the National League in 2021, it seems likely that Schwarber could start in left field, with Soto sliding from there to right field, where he saw a bit of time in the end. last season.

This is Rizzo’s second significant attempt to strengthen the roster, after making a trade to acquire first baseman Josh Bell, a 2019 NL All-Star, from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like Schwarber, Bell, 28, had a career year in 2019 – 37 homers, 116 RBIs, .936 OPS _ and collapsed in 2020. Bell had a batting average of .226 and .669 OPS la last season.

The Nationals went 26-34 in 2020 and tied for last place in the NL East, a year after winning the franchise’s first World Series title.

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