Which position should Schwarber play?
In 2015, the combination of Miguel Montero and David Ross handled the catching, with the exception of short periods where the two were on the DL list. The meant that rookie sensation Kyle Schwarber was able to get scant time behind the plate. Moving him to right field proved a good method of keeping his bat in the lineup, but hurt his chances of getting the 200 or so games behind the plate he really needs to flesh out his skills as a catcher. There is also the fact that catchers face wear, tear, and injuries that other players don’t, and Schwarber – while extremely dedicated and athletic– is most valuable with a bat in his hand.
Is it time to give up on Schwarber as a catcher and concentrate on improving his abilities in the field? If so, does that open the door for Willson Contreras to move up into a backup role? Ross, who has been amazing behind the plate, but less than stellar on offense, has indicated he may retire after this season. His major role has been to catch for Jon Lester, but there needs to be a solid succession path as Montero goes into the final year of his contract in 2017, and Ross moves toward retirement. If Schwarber is going to catch, what is the plan to get him the necessary playing time to not become a defensive liability – and if Contreras is the answer, when will he join the team? While this might seem like a question that doesn’t have to be answered immediately, the stability and defensive value of Kyle Schwarber is directly tied to making a solid decision and moving forward.