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What free agents could the Phillies sign without giving up draft compensation?


Kenley Jansen is a free agent. (Ian D’Andrea)

While last week we analyzed the 14 players the Phillies would have to give up draft compensation for, this week we’ll see the players they can sign with no strings attached.

Since these players didn’t receive a qualifying offer from their clubs, Philadelphia won’t have to give up a second round pick and $500,000 of international signing bonus pool money to sign them:

Kris Bryant, 3B/OF

Bryce Harper’s friend might be a possibility for the Phillies this offseason. Bryant — who split 2021 between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants — hit .265 with 25 home runs and 73 RBIs in 2021. With the Phillies committed to continuing to attempt to let Alec Bohm develop as a third baseman, Bryant would have to spend the bulk of his time in left and/or center field if he signed.

Kevin Gausman, SP

If the Phillies want to bolster their starting rotation, Gausman would help in a huge way. A key part of the Giants’ surprisingly successful season, Gausman had a 2.81 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 192 innings over 33 starts.

Max Scherzer, SP 

Yeah, this one probably isn’t happening. While Scherzer would undoubtedly help the Phillies rotation, they were reportedly among the teams he was unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to come to in the summer. He and Joe Girardi also weren’t especially friendly with each other this past summer.

Marcus Stroman, SP

Could the Phillies sign another former New York Met to join their starting rotation? Stroman would boost the Phillies’ pitching, especially after an impressive contract year in Queens. In 179 innings, Stroman had a 3.02 ERA and a career-high 21.7% strikeout rate with the Mets.

Javier Báez, SS

Báez was a conundrum in 2021. While his 31 home runs were impressive, his career-worst 33.6% strikeout rate in 2021 (mixed in with an already high career strikeout rate of 29.3%) should concern potential suitors. But with questions looming at the shortstop position, maybe the Phillies will check in on the soon-to-be 29-year-old.

Starling Marte, OF

The Phillies were reportedly interested in Marte last summer before he was traded to the Oakland Athletics, and it doesn’t appear anything has changed in the months since. According to Jon Heyman of Audacy Sports, the Phillies are interested in signing the 33-year-old outfielder. Marte had a .383 on-base percentage and 47 stolen bases in 2021, so he could lead off and play center field for the Phillies. In his free-agent predictions, Phillies Nation‘s Tim Kelly projected that Marte will land in Philadelphia on a four-year/$72 million deal.

Carlos Rodón, SP

Who doesn’t love a no hitter? Rodón tossing a no-no was the high point in his career-year in 2021. On the year, he recorded a 2.37 ERA, a 183 ERA+ and a 0.96 WHIP.

Jon Gray, SP

If the Phillies want stability, but not necessarily flashiness, Gray is their guy. Gray — the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft — had a 4.59 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 8-12 record for a struggling Colorado Rockies rotation in 2021.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B

When discussing post-prime Anthony Rizzo, you have to bring up his plate discipline. While he doesn’t have the same power he did with the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. His 15.1% strikeout rate in 2021 was below the league average of 21.1%. While Philadelphia is set at first base, it’s still interesting to see how Rizzo’s career has evolved.

Anthony Desclafani, P

Maybe his New Jersey roots will make him want to come back to the region? Desclafani was another clutch player in the Giants surprise season this year. He had a 3.0 WAR, 3.17 ERA and 13-7 record in a strong Giants rotation this year.

Could Kyle Schwarber be a target of the Phillies? (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

Kyle Schwarber, LF

With tons of playoff experience at 29 years old, Schwarber could replace Andrew McCutchen in left field and serve as protection in the lineup for Bryce Harper. In 2021, he slashed .266/.374/.554 with 32 homers for the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox.

Clayton Kershaw, LHP

Kershaw missed the postseason with a left forearm issue, and isn’t the workhorse that he once was. With that said, the future Hall of Famer still posted a 3.55 ERA and 3.00 FIP over 121 2/3 innings in 2021. Kershaw is one of the greatest players in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and could very well re-sign with the only team he’s ever played for. With that said, Anthony Franco of MLB Trade Rumors did predict that the Phillies will sign Kershaw to a lucrative one-year deal.

Avisaíl Garcia, RF

Garcia led the Milwaukee Brewers in home runs (29) and RBIs (86) in 2021. And yet, Milwaukee didn’t extend him a qualifying offer. The 30-year-old right fielder should garner quite a bit of interest this offseason.

Jorge Soler, OF

Did that moon-shot home run ever come down? Thanks to recency bias, the World Series MVP is going to receive a lot of calls this offseason. He had 27 home runs, a .223 batting average and 70 RBIs between the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves this past season.

Kenley Jansen, CP

Like Kershaw, Jansen is a legendary Dodger that would be a pretty big gamble to sign. While he has the great career stats — 13th in MLB history in saves (350), career 2.37 ERA — he’s 34 years old and probably isn’t going to be a volume closer moving forward. Ken Davidoff of The New York Post has projected that the Phillies will sign the three-time All-Star to a three-year/$40 million deal, which would be quite a risky investment.

Nelson Cruz, DH

If the Phillies want to raise their average age, Nelson Cruz is their guy. At 41 years old, Cruz still possesses great power, as he hit 32 home runs in a 2021 campaign split with the Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays. Until National League teams know if there will be a universal DH as part of the next collective bargaining agreement, Cruz is really limited to American League teams.

Steven Matz, P

Some more potential rotation help –– this time, a familiar face that spent 2021 north of the border. Matz went 14-7 and had a 3.82 ERA and 1.33 WHIP for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021 after spending the first seven years of his career with the Mets.

Mark Canha, OF/1B

Could this underrated outfielder end up in red pinstripes this offseason? Canha slashed .231/.358/.387 with 17 home runs in 2021. The 17 dingers were the second most in his 7-year career. Perhaps he could be a candidate to take over in left field.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. C.

    November 13, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Not, “what” but “which” free agents.

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