What’s next for Frank Schwindel after demotion to minors?
With newcomer Franmil Reyes joining the fold this week, the Cubs needed to make a roster move.
The team opted to send Frank Schwindel down to the minor leagues after Monday’s game.
The writing was on the wall for that move even before the Reyes signing, as manager David Ross said last week Patrick Wisdom was going to see more playing time at first base.
Over the last 8 games, Schwindel has only started 4 times at first base while Wisdom drew 3 starts and P.J. Higgins manned the spot on July 31.
It’s been a tough season for Schwindel after he was one of the feel-good stories of 2021. The Cubs claimed Schwindel off waivers last July and after the trade deadline selloff, he saw everyday playing time and exploded with a .342 average and 1.002 OPS in 56 games.
The 30-year-old came into this year as an important part of the lineup, regularly hitting 4th and 5th in the order through the first month of the season.
But he never got into a groove at the plate while dealing with a back injury that initially cropped up in Spring Training and then cost him a month of the season from mid-June to mid-July.
Before the demotion, Schwindel was hitting .229/.277/.358 (.635 OPS) with 8 homers and 36 RBI in 75 games.
“I think he knows he’s not where he wants to be,” David Ross said. “He’s been working through a lot of things. Probably 4-5 days ago, feels like he’s getting close with the work he’s doing, good plan with the hitting group and just hasn’t really seen that play out.”
Schwindel admitted the back injury was something he was feeling earlier the season. The Cubs initially optioned him to the minors in early May but when the team was hit with some injuries, he was called right back up and met the team in San Diego.
That began a stretch for Schwindel where he hit .263 with a .761 OPS, which isn’t the level he performed at in 2021 but is still an above-average bat.
Then the back injury struck again on June 17 as he was running out a ground ball at Wrigley Field and had to be placed on the IL. He wound up missing a month and since he’s returned, Schwindel is hitting only .186 with a .465 OPS and only 1 extra-base hit (a double) in 47 plate appearances.
“The organization has seen a really good version of him — one of the better players in baseball for a pretty good stretch,” Ross said. “So knowing what that looks like and knowing that it’s in there, he knows it’s not there.
“Being able to get freed up in the minor leagues and have at-bats and try to get back to where he feels really good is really the plan.”