The AL East-leading Red Sox gave their offense a jolt on Thursday night — albeit one that will take some time to come to fruition — when they acquired outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Nationals. Minor league right-hander Aldo Ramirez heads back to the Nationals in the deal.
The #RedSox today acquired All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals, in exchange for minor league RHP Aldo Ramirez.— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 30, 2021
To make room for Schwarber on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated RHP Brandon Workman for assignment.
Schwarber, 28, is on the injured list with a right hamstring strain, hasn’t played since July 2, and isn’t expected back until at least the middle of August. But he had become arguably the Nationals’ most dynamic hitter before getting hurt, and it’s reasonable to say that his injury killed Washington’s playoff hopes.
Schwarber, who historically has hit for a low average while taking a ton of walks and hitting a lot of homers, has stuck to his same general hitting profile this year but has done it better than he ever has before. He’s hitting .253/.340/.570, with his batting average and slugging percentages both on pace to be career bests, along with 25 homers and 53 RBI. The first-time All-Star hit 12 homers over a 10-game span earlier this year and has the ability to be a transformative offensive presence when he’s in a groove.
If he comes back and hits the way he did before the injury, Schwarber will be an upgrade at every position he can realistically play, so the Red Sox will ultimately find room for him. With that said, there’s not an obvious spot for him in the lineup. He’s probably not going to do too much DHing with J.D. Martinez on the team, and though Schwarber has played the vast majority of his major league games in left field, it’s difficult to see Boston benching current left fielder Alex Verdugo. Schwarber has only played four career games in right field and likely won’t end up there, though the Red Sox could give Verdugo some starts in center and right field and give Kiké Hernández and Hunter Renfroe more time off.
While Schwarber has only played one major league game at first base, it’s possible he could get some work at that position as well with Bobby Dalbec posting a brutal .204/.232/.259 slash line in July.
Ramirez, a 20-year-old right-hander from Mexico, pitched very well in eight games for Low-A Salem this year before going on the injured list with elbow tendinitis on June 27. In eight starts, he had a 2.03 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP, 32 strikeouts, and eight walks in 31 innings.
In order to add Schwarber to the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated reliever Brandon Workman for assignment. While Workman was in his second stint with Boston and had struggled significantly to throw strikes this season, he’ll have a lasting place in Red Sox history as a member of the 2013 and ‘18 World Series championship teams.