Kyle Schwarber: Cubs non-tender a ‘bit of a gut punch’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Kyle Schwarber’s agency told him it could happen, but that didn’t make the Cubs’ decision to non-tender him last month any easier.
“At first, it definitely was a little bit of a gut punch,” Schwarber said Tuesday on ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy. "It’s not the way that you want to end your tenure with the team, especially for all the things I went through there and all the history that we made.”
Schwarber’s run with the Cubs officially ended on Saturday, when his one-year deal with the Nationals became official. That came a little over a month after the Cubs non-tendered him, making him a free agent after six seasons on the North Side.
Schwarber, who was under club control through the upcoming season, said Cubs team president Jed Hoyer called him before MLB’s 7 p.m. non-tender deadline on Dec. 2 to tell him the news.
“'We all love you but we’re going to go ahead and non-tender you,’” Schwarber recalled Hoyer saying. “’We’d love to have you back. We gotta see what happens down the road, but we’d love to have you back. And if it’s not this year, we’ll definitely keep interest in the following years down the road.’”
A reunion isn't in the cards this offseason, which also has seen the Cubs trade Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini and buy out Jon Lester's contract. Schwarber called the Cubs' offseason to date "a little surprising" but said he has no hard feelings towards the club.
He looks back on his time with the Cubs fondly, from their historic championship in 2016 — in which he made an epic comeback from a devastating knee injury in time for the World Series — to all of the relationships he’s made along the way. The 27-year-old outfielder added he’ll miss playing at Wrigley Field in front of the passionate Cubs fan base.
“They wanted you to win and they didn’t care if you were down 8-0 — they’re still with you til the end,” he said of Cubs fans. "I think that’s something I’m never going to forget.
“That’s one thing that I’m definitely going to miss, is just being able to roll out there into left field. Hopefully whenever we do come back, hopefully there’s going to be fans in the stands. I might be able to do it one last time.”
And although he's on another team now, Schwarber is rooting for his friends and former teammates with an eye on hopefully meeting them on the field come October.
"I care for those guys over there and I hope that whatever happens, they go out there and they win the division, and hopefully we get to meet them in the playoffs at some point," he said.