Kyle Schwarber knows what it’s like to do the impossible.
His Herculean comeback from a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee suffered in the first week of the 2016 season is a story itself. Schwarber was never supposed to play a role in the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, but he did. He went 3-for-5 in Game 7 and reached base safely in all five games he played in. Schwarber defied every injury timetable given to him just to break the most infamous curse in baseball.
The decade-long postseason drought for the Phillies isn’t quite a curse yet, but it will be if it continues to drag on far longer than it should. It’s partly why the Phillies signed the 29-year-old Schwarber to a four-year, $79 million contract.
The Phillies plan to hit their way to the postseason and Schwarber can provide power and plate discipline at the very top of the order. He’s the only player on the active roster who has won a World Series and the Phillies will rely on his experience as they fight to bring Red October back to Philadelphia.
“Everyone hung on to that 108 years, 108 years, 108 years,” Schwarber said in reference to the Cubs’ World Series drought “That was something that we played for, right? That’s something that we got to hang on and play for. We got to figure out what we want to do and what we want to hang on to and what we want to strive for every day, walking out that door, going onto the field, cross on the line and going out there and trying to win that baseball game any way possible.”
Since the team declared they were in win-now mode in 2019, the Phillies have a combined regular season record of 191-193. Poor depth, inconsistent play and late-season collapses pretty much explain why the team has hovered around .500 in recent years. Making the playoffs isn’t supposed to be as hard as the Phillies make it out to be.
Adding both Schwarber and Nick Castellanos doesn’t address all of the Phillies’ flaws, but the roster itself is talented enough to land among the top six clubs in the National League come year’s end.
In seven seasons as a big leaguer, Schwarber has only missed the playoffs once. With six teams in each league advancing, FanGraphs says the Phillies have a 65.6% chance of making the postseason in 2022.
But Schwarber has bigger aspirations in mind.
“Look, I’m in the business of winning baseball games,” Schwarber said. “And when you look at this team, from top to bottom lineup-wise, looking at the rotation, the bullpen, this team is a very good ballclub. We’re built to win the [National League] East. We’re built to go deep into the playoffs. That’s what you look for. That’s what you want to be. I’ve only won in my career.”
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