The Philadelphia Phillies are indeed interested in free-agent slugger Kyle Schwarber.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that the Phillies “remain in pursuit of Schwarber,” who was an All-Star in 2021.
After being non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs last offseason, Schwarber had the best season of his career in 2021, a season that he split between the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox. In 113 games, Schwarber slashed .266/.374/.554 with 32 home runs, 71 RBIs, 64 walks and a .928 OPS.
On Audacy Sports, I projected that Schwarber would land a four-year/$65 million deal this offseason. If such a deal came from the Phillies, Schwarber would likely replace Andrew McCutchen in left field. Set to turn 29 next March, Schwarber could either lead off or provide lineup protection for reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper.
Earlier this month, new Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long sounded bullish about the idea of reuniting with Schwarber, who had been one of his star pupils in Washington.
“Well, I do think he’d fit the Phillies,” Long said. “I’m a Kyle Schwarber fan, I think the world of this guy. [He’s a] baseball junky, baseball rat … [he] loves to talk baseball, he loves to talk hitting.
“There were just some things that I thought he could do better and when we addressed it in the offseason, we attacked it pretty firmly. I thought he got really upright in his stance. I thought he started creating a lot of forward movement. He wasn’t staying behind the ball well. He was pretty much long to contact, as I would explain it. And I thought there was a lot more in the tank, and we started addressing those issues.
“And midway through the first half, he caught fire. I mean, you guys saw it. [Nationals manager] Davey [Martinez] inserted him into the leadoff spot and he went crazy. I mean, it was to the point where guys didn’t want to miss the first pitch of the game because they thought he might go deep. And he was doing it, every single day it seemed like he was hitting a home run.
“But he’s a remarkable player, a great clubhouse guy and somebody you want on your team. And when he started putting together those offensive numbers, at that point, he became one of the best players in the league.”
Schwarber is the fourth outfielder (or outfield adjacent player) that the Phillies have been connected to Monday. Signing him or Kris Bryant wouldn’t require surrendering any draft compensation, because neither was eligible to receive a qualifying offer from their previous employer. If the Phillies signed Nick Castellanos or Chris Taylor, they would have to surrender their second-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and $500,000 of international signing bonus pool money, because both declined qualifying offers.
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