After the lockout ended, fans were ecstatic that baseball was returning. Despite that initial excitement, it only took a few days before the usual angry tweets from the fans about the front office, the injuries, and the manager set in. Hopefully, some of that will fade as the Phillies signed outfielder Kyle Schwarber, one of the hottest commodities currently on the free-agent market.
Schwarber, the twenty-nine-year-old left fielder, signed a four-year contract worth around $79 million. Jim Salisbury from NBC Sports Philadelphia was the first to share this news.
Schwarber was drafted at the fourth overall spot in 2014. It only took him until June 16th the following year to make his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs. Even though many people thought that he was not yet developed, he proved his disbelievers wrong by mashing 16 home runs while maintaining an .842 OPS in his 232 at-bats his rookie year.
Schwarber spent the majority of the 2021 season in Washington. As a National, he tied the modern homerun streak record in the big leagues with twelve home runs in ten games. That record-board includes all-time greats like Troy Tulowitzki, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa. While Schwarber won’t play to the same caliber as one of those three, he is an above-average hitter and will fill the hole in left field that some saw as an everlasting thing.
In 2021, Kyle Schwarber hit .266 with 32 home runs. He has a career .836 OPS. Schwarber struggled in the 2020 shortened season and was eventually optioned to AAA. At the end of 2020, he left the Cubs and was picked up by the Nationals. This was when the 2015-2019 Schwarber that everyone was used to returned.
When Harper found out about Schwarber’s signing, he spoke with the media in Clearwater. “It’s huge for us… He’s a proven winner. Everywhere he’s gone, he’s done a really good job. He gives us a huge opportunity to fill that void out in left field, and it gives us a huge opportunity to get that much better,” Harper said.
Brad Hand, also new to the Phillies was a National at the same time as Schwarber. Hand described him as a “very exciting player.” Hand also mentioned how special it was to see Schwarber’s homerun streak from the perspective of a teammate.
Schwarber will be the everyday left fielder for the Phillies, assuming he stays injury-free during Spring Training.
It has been reported that he is expected to arrive in Clearwater by the end of the week.
After this signing, the Phillies are $12.8 million above the luxury tax. If the Phillies make any more big signings, they would have to trade away a player like Didi Gregorius to get rid of his pricey salary to stay under the tax. Although, history shows that Phillies president Dave Dombrowski is not afraid to go over the luxury tax. But, a trade still seems more likely the Phillies decide to make another big splash before Opening Day.