Kyle Schwarber has officially become a free agent after declining his $11.5 million mutual option for 2022, the Associated Press reported earlier Friday morning.
Schwarber, 28, had until Sunday to decide on accepting his end of the mutual option that was part of the one-year, $10 million deal he signed with the Nationals back in January.
It was expected that Schwarber would decline it and instead test the free agency waters based off the strong 2021 season he put together between the Nationals and Red Sox.
After getting traded from Washington to Boston in exchange for pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez in late July, Schwarber later made his Red Sox debut on August 13, as he had previously been on the injured list due to a right hamstring strain.
Upon being inserted into manager Alex Cora’s lineup, Schwarber made his impact felt right away and quickly became a fan favorite in Boston as a result of doing so. In 41 games for the Sox, the left-handed hitter slashed an impressive .291/.435/.522 with 10 doubles, seven home runs, 18 RBI, 34 runs scored, 33 walks, and 39 strikeouts across 168 plate appearances.
Defensively, Schwarber appeared in 15 games in left field and an additional 10 at first base, a position he was learning on the fly so that the Red Sox could get his bat into the lineup regularly without altering their regular outfield picture too much.
In the postseason, the 6-foot, 299 pound slugger batted .205/.286/.432 to go along with one double, three homers, six RBI, eight runs scored, one stolen base, five walks, and 11 strikeouts over 11 games (49 plate appearances) spanning the American League Wild Card Game against the Yankees, the American League Division Series against the Rays, and the American League Championship Series against the Astros.
Because the Red Sox acquired Schwarber, who does not turn 29 until March, midseason, they cannot extend him an $18.4 million qualifying offer. They can, however, make an attempt to bring him back for the 2022 season and beyond.
When the Red Sox were eliminated by the Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS last month, Schwarber did indicate that he would be open to remaining in Boston if the opportunity presented itself.
“This is definitely a clubhouse that I could see myself wanting to stay in,” Schwarber told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “These guys are amazing. I said this, it’s two World Series teams going at it. This is a World Series clubhouse, and I would love to hopefully see if that opportunity comes back.”
(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)