Kyle Schwarber's season is over after devastating knee injury

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor
Big League Stew

The Chicago Cubs were bracing themselves for the worst after slugger Kyle Schwarber was carted off the field during Thursday's game in Arizona. Unfortunately, the worst was confirmed on Friday. 

Schwarber will miss the rest of the 2016 season after suffering a complete tear of the ACL and LCL in his left knee. Schwarber sustained his injuries, which also include a severely sprained left ankle, in a collision with center fielder Dexter Fowler

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Schwarber, a catcher by trade, has been thrown in the outfield mix to keep his dynamic bat in the lineup, and to allow him to continue working on his defensive skills behind the plate. He was a work in progress in the outfield as well, leading to some concern that an incident like Thursday's could happen. But no one anticipated results quite this devastating. 

(AP)
(AP)

Needless to say, this will be a huge blow to the Cubs high-powered offense. Schwarber's immense power and unique build already had fans calling him Babe Ruth, and he lived up to that billing during his rookie season. At 23, he's already among the game's most feared hitters. He's a legit home run threat every time he steps up, regardless of the pitcher, and that makes him a true game changer. 

The only silver lining for Chicago is the depth it possesses among its position players. With Schwarber out, it opens the door for several possibilities. Perhaps the most intriguing is more playing time for Jorge Soler, who's a dynamic young hitter in his own right. Along with Dexter Fowler and Jason Heyward, that would give Chicago one of the better defensive outfields in MLB. 

Kris Bryant has also shown he's capable of handling left field if the Cubs want to go that direction. That would open up third base for a returning Javier Baez, who will be off the disabled list soon. The Cubs have Matt Szczur waiting in the wings too, and he's looked good this season. Not too mention veteran outfielder Shane Victorino. 

For now, the Cubs have pegged veteran infielder Munenori Kawasaki as Schwarber's replacement on the roster, but the longer term options will be plentiful.  

[Related: Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber injured in collision with Dexter Fowler]

The Cubs should be fine at catcher as well with veteran Miguel Montero and David Ross in the mix. Chicago also has top catching prospect Willson Contreras at Triple-A, should an emergency situation pop up. Contreras hit .333/.413/.478 at Double-A a year ago.

As prepared as the Cubs are though, this news still feels like a punch in the gut. Especially for his teammates.

Kyle Schwarber is one the Cubs building blocks, and he's one of baseball's brightest young stars. It's frustrating that he won't get to shine in 2016, and it's made all the more painful by the circumstances surrounding his injury. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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