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Bryce Harper: ‘What a lineup we’re about to have’


Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins will be crucial pieces for the Phillies in 2022. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

When Bryce Harper went to bed last night, he knew that the Philadelphia Phillies had improved their lineup this week with the addition of Kyle Schwarber. But what he woke up to Saturday morning felt like something out of a dream.

Not only did the Phillies reportedly agree to a four-year/$79 million deal with Schwarber earlier this week, but Friday night they reportedly came to terms with Nick Castellanos on a five-year/$100 million deal.

“Yeah, I woke up to it this morning. I had a lot of text messages. What an awesome experience that we’re about to have this year,” Harper told the collective media, including MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki.

The Phillies have yet to make official either signing, but there’s no reason to believe both won’t be donning red pinstripes this season. In fact, Schwarber is slated to be in camp with the Phillies on Sunday, per Zolecki.

The signing not only adds two guys who can mash into a lineup that already included Harper, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, but it will represent the first time in franchise history that the Phillies have exceeded the luxury tax threshold, with FanGraphs estimating that they will have the fourth-highest payroll in the league.

At the outset of the week, the Phillies seemingly needed to add a big bat that could play left field, with Schwarber, Castellanos and Kris Bryant among the options still available. They’ll now head into the weekend with two of those three slated to hit in what will be one of the deepest lineups in baseball in 2022.

“It’s incredible, I would have never thought that would have happened. Like I said, you have to have the faith in [Dave] Dombrowski and John Middleton to do their jobs and to get the team that’s best going out there, and what a lineup we’re about to have. It’s a special thing being able to have guys at the top of our lineup and the middle of our lineup … it’s pretty well-rounded, just the length of our lineup is very impressive. But like I said, it looks good on paper, but you still have to go out there and give it your best effort and still go out there and work hard.”

Harper was quick Saturday to give credit to Dombrowski and Middleton, both of whom were instrumental in the Phillies securing two of the biggest bats on the market. So too, though, was Harper, with Jon Heyman of Audacy Sports saying that the reigning National League MVP “was a big factor in Phillies’ recruitment and signing of Castellanos.”

This won’t be the 1980 or 2008 Phillies — there will be flaws with this team. Schwarber and Castellanos combined for -12 defensive runs saved in 2022. They’re joining a team that had a league-worst -54 defensive runs saved in 2021. In the same way that the 2007 Phillies had to out hit a disastrous bullpen to end a long postseason drought, the 2022 Phillies will have to out hit what may be the league’s worst defense to snap a 10-year playoff drought.

But that can’t temper the excitement around the Phillies this weekend. This team is going to hit a bunch of dingers in 2022.

“I was pretty blown away, pretty excited. I said to Bryson [Stott] when he came downstairs, it’s a great day to be a Phillie. It just goes to show that this organization wants to win, they are committed to winning and I’m pretty excited right now.”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. sandra

    March 19, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    trying to hear som info on Alex Bohn. Will he be in the minors. Is he gone??

    • Rick Forbes

      March 19, 2022 at 1:43 pm

      No.

    • Len Rosen

      March 19, 2022 at 4:24 pm

      Nick Castellanos apparently can play third base. Not sure how stellar he is defensively. But it appears that pitchers have figured out Alec Bohm and his unusual closed stance that initially led to regular singles to right field. If Bohm cannot adjust – and I imagine the degree of difficulty is high – he’s likely a .200 to .220 hitter without compensatory defensive skills. Soon as his first MLB plate appearance, I thought to myself: What am I missing? Phillies scouts reportedly project him as a power hitter. With that stance? How is it possible? As pitchers adjusted, Bohm regressed at the plate: more strikeouts, far fewer drives, even to RF. Back to the minors. Hope I’m wrong, but the Phillies probably have an opening at third base.

  2. SportsFan0000

    March 20, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    I don’t think Dave Dombrowski is even done with building the Phillies roster for 2022.

    Relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel?

    A’s Starter Frankie Montas?

    What would it take to get those players to fortify the Phillies pitching staff?!

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