NEW YORK — Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. were cut loose by the Chicago Cubs after helping the team win its first World Series title in more than a century, among 59 players who became free agents as part of the fallout from the coranavirus pandemic when their teams failed to offer them 2021 contracts by Wednesday night’s deadline.

Kyle Schwarber

Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber bats during a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz., in March 2019. Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr. became free agents Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, when the Chicago Cubs declined to offer contracts to two key players from their historic 2016 World Series championship. AP file photo

Cincinnati reliever Archie Bradley, Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall, Colorado outfielder David Dahl and Minnesota outfielder Eddie Rosario also were let go by their clubs, who did not want to allow those players to become eligible for salary arbitration in February, which would have been their right had they been tendered contracts.

Schwarber earned $2,596,296 in prorated pay from his $7.01 million salary last season but hit .188 with 11 homers in 59 games, down from 38 homers, 92 RBIs and a .250 batting average in 155 games in 2019. Almora batted .167 in 28 games last season and earned $1,667,667 prorated from $4.5 million, down from a .236 average, 12 homers and 32 RBIs in 2019.

Schwarber returned from a serious knee injury and hit .412 with two RBIs in the 2016 World Series as the Cubs won their first title since 1908. He served as designated hitter for the games in Cleveland.

Almora made a key play in Game 7, running for Schwarber in the 10th inning, advancing on Kris Bryant’s fly ball and scoring the go-ahead run on Ben Zobrist’s double in an 8-7 victory.

While the total number of players let go at the deadline was up only a bit from 56 last year, more high-quality players were set free by teams, many trying to cut expenses after a regular season that included a sharp revenue drop because no fans were allowed in stadiums due to health conditions.

Milwaukee was on the verge of cutting hard-throwing reliever Corey Knebel but instead traded the right-hander to the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named or cash just ahead of the deadline. Knebel was an All-Star in 2017 with 39 saves and 126 strikeouts in 76 innings but missed 2019 following Tommy John surgery and struck out 15 in 13 1/3 innings in the pandemic-shortened season as his average fastball velocity dropped 3 mph to just under 95 mph.

Fifty-nine players agreed to one-year contracts ahead of the deadline, many of them facing a threat of being cut.

Minnesota reached deals with five players, including pitcher José Berríos ($6.1 million) and center fielder Byron Buxton ($5,125,000).

Kansas City agreed with designated hitter Jorge Soler ($8.05 million), first baseman Hunter Dozier ($2.72 million), right-handers Jesse Hahn ($1.75 million) and Jakob Junis ($1.7 million), and outfielder Franchy Cordero ($800,000).

The New York Mets agreed to a $5.1 million, one-year deal with left-hander Steven Matz and finalized their $15.5 million, two-year contract with free-agent reliever Trevor May, a deal that had been pending a physical. The Mets allowed pitchers Chasen Shreve, Nick Tropeano, Paul Sewald and Ariel Jurado to go free; Tropeano was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh in October, before owner Steve Cohen bought the team from the Wilpon and Katz families.

First baseman Matt Olson and Oakland agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract, and first baseman Jesús Aguilar and Miami agreed to a $4.3 million, one-year deal.

Atlanta reached agreements with right-hander Luke Jackson ($1.9 million), infielder Johan Camargo ($1.36 million) and left-hander Grant Dayton ($900,000). Milwaukee struck deals with catcher Omar Narváez ($2.5 million) and shortstop Orlando Arcia ($2 million).

Boston agreed with pitcher Matt Barnes ($4.4 million) and catcher Kevin Plawecki ($1.6 million), and the Yankees and right-hander Luis Cessa agreed at $1 million.



The 59 players who became free agents when their teams failed to offer 2021 contracts Wednesday:

BALTIMORE (1) — Hanser Alberto, inf.

CHICAGO (2) — Nomar Mazara, of; Carlos Rodón, lhp.

CLEVELAND (3) — Delino DeShields Jr. of; Tyler Naquin, of; Jefry Rodriguez, rhp.

KANSAS CITY (6) — Maikel Franco, 3b; Foster Griffin, lhp; Jeison Guzman, ss; Erick Mejia, of; Carlos Sanabria, rhp; Bubba Starling, of.

LOS ANGELES (5) — Justin Anderson, rhp; Matt Andriese, rhp; Keynan Middleton, rhp; Hoby Milner, lhp; Hansel Robles, rhp.

MINNESOTA (2) — Eddie Rosario, of; Matt Wisler, rhp.

NEW YORK (1) — Jonathan Holder, rhp.

TAMPA BAY (1) — Edgar Garcia, rhp.

TEXAS (3) — Scott Heineman, of; Jimmy Herget, rhp; Daniel Santana, 1b.

TORONTO (2) — Al Cole, rhp; Travis Shaw, 3b.


CHICAGO (6) — Albert Almora Jr. of; Jose Martinez, dh; Kyle Ryan, lhp; Kyle Schwarber, of, Ryan Tepera, rhp; Daniel Winkler, rhp.ATLANTA (1) — Adam Duvall, of.

CINCINNATI (5) — Ruben Alaniz, rhp; Archie Bradley, rhp; Curt Casali, c; Kyle Farmer, 2b; Brian Goodwin, of.

COLORADO (3) — David Dahl, of; Chi Chi Gonzalez, rhp; Tony Wolters, c.

MIAMI (2) — Ryne Stanek, rhp; Jose Urena, rhp.

MILWAUKEE (3) — Alex Claudio, lhp; Ben Gamel, ofh; Jace Peterson, of.

NEW YORK (4) — Ariel Jurado, rhp; Paul Sewald, rhp; Chasen Shreve, lhp; Nick Tropeano, lhp.

PITTSBURGH (1) — Clay Holmes, rhp.

ST. LOUIS (2) — John Brebbia, rhp; Rangel Ravelo, 1b.

SAN DIEGO (1) — Greg Garcia, 2b.

SAN FRANCISCO (5) — Melvin Adon, rhp; Tyler Anderson, lhp; Rico Garcia, rhp; Daniel Robertson, 3b; Chadwick Triomp, c.

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