Chicago Cubs’ Plans To Contend Are Not Derailed Despite Kyle Schwarber’s Injury

When Kyle Schwarber got tangled with Dexter Fowler, fans of the Chicago Cubs’ all had a collective, “here we go again” tone. The Cubs’ left-fielder went down in a heap going after a ball in the outfield. It was a play where neither Schwarber nor Fowler had a true read on the ball. They collided into each other while trying to track down the play. Fowler got up, but Schwarber was visibly hurt. It was instantly assumed that he was injured. How badly he was injured was widely feared. If Kyle Schwarber was going to be lost for a lengthy period of time, the Chicago Cubs’ plans to contend for the World Series could be in jeopardy.

The worst case scenario for Kyle Schwarber and the Chicago Cubs happened when the results of the second-year player’s MRI revealed a torn ACL and LCL. According to the Cubs’ website, Schwarber will miss the entire season.

A couple of days have passed since the injury has taken place. And Cubs fans are beginning to calm down. They are starting to understand that Kyle Schwarber’s injury, while being a setback, does not derail what the Cubs are trying to do. Everyone is still horrified by the play. That includes Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein.

“I think everyone who knows Kyle was sick watching that play and the aftermath of that play. With the news today, we’re just devastated for him. He’s worked so hard, he’s such a great person, he’s such a great teammate, he’s such an important part of our identity in the organization that you hate to see anything bad happen to him, let alone devastating news like this and not be able to play baseball for the rest of the season.

“My heart went out to him — all of our hearts went out to him. It’s tough news. It’s really devastating news.”

The Chicago Cubs know that not having Schwarber’s bat in the every day lineup will hurt. Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer foresaw the possibility of injuries occurring. Which is why they built the Cubs into a contender that has plenty of depth throughout the lineup.

Several Cubs must step up in Kyle Schwarber’s absence, including Jorge Soler.

To say that the pressure is on Soler to produce is an understatement.

CSN Chicago is reporting that Jorge Soler is likely to get the first crack at replacing Schwarber in the lineup. Soler is an upgrade, defensively, for the Cubs. It is his bat that will have to improve. Soler batted.262 with 404 plate appearances. He struck out 121 times last season. Soler has a career WAR (wins above replacement) of 0.9.

The Cubs believe that Soler’s hitting potential will eventually show up. Cubs manager Joe Maddon is included among those who are believers.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t say it’s critical. We have a lot of faith in this guy. I think it’s going to eventually show up. I don’t want him to go into it thinking it’s kind of a do-or-die moment for him at all.”

Having Jorge Soler replace an injured Kyle Schwarber is not a do-or-die situation for the Cubs. They could have been worse off. Again, the Chicago Cubs are built with depth. If one player goes down, another one can step in and work seamlessly in the lineup.

Even with the Schwarber injury, the Cubs have one of the deepest lineups in Major League Baseball. The offseason addition of Jason Heyward and the re-signing of Fowler strengthened the Cubs, who already had a potent offense. Schwarber’s injury takes away a left-handed power hitter with shaky defense. If Soler can somehow find patience at the plate, the loss will not be as bad.

Also, Javier Baez is scheduled to return in the next week or two. Baez will be expected to contribute with his bat and defense.

When Kyle Scwharber went down, it brought the fans of the Chicago Cubs jubilation to a halt. Once everyone had a couple of days to digest the injury, it is clear that the Cubs intentions of competing for a World Series is still on schedule. Today the Chicago Cubs are a better team defensively, but the offense needs another shot in the arm. Next up, Jorge Soler.

[Photo by Christian Peterson/Getty Images]

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