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Report: Phillies were unwilling to give Kris Bryant more than five years

The Phillies were in on Kris Bryant. They were ultimately outbid by the Colorado Rockies, who offered him a seven-year, $182 million deal.

Before star shortstop Carlos Correa signed with the Twins, the deal was the shocker of the offseason. Bryant and the Rockies are a curious fit. Colorado is not expected to seriously compete in the crowded NL West for years to come. That doesn’t necessarily mean teams like the Rockies should stay out of the market for star power, but going after Bryant is an interesting decision considering that the team is a year removed from trading Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story was still available at the time.

Kris Bryant signed with the Colorado Rockies. (Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire)

Many also expected Bryant to get the most lucrative contract among the top corner outfielders remaining on the free agent market, but the length and dollar value exceeded many pre-offseason projections.

It turns out the Rockies were by far Bryant’s most serious suitor the entire time. The Phillies may have been the only team that came close to rivaling Colorado, but according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Philadelphia was “interested,” but unwilling to commit more than five years to Bryant. Nightengale also mentions that the Seattle Mariners showed early interest and the San Francisco Giants were waiting “to see if he’d fall through the cracks.”

The Phillies went in a different direction and signed both Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos for a combined $179 million. Bryant offers defensive versatility, but he did post a -10 outs above average across all positions he played in 2021. Schwarber and Castellanos are both considered below-average defenders in the corner outfield, a spot where some teams can tolerate bad defense if it comes with elite offensive production. All three could be classified as equally good hitters, but the Phillies might be better off having the Schwarber/Castellanos duo in the lineup as opposed to just Bryant.

Speaking of Schwarber and Castellanos, the former will bat leadoff and play left field in Friday’s game against the Yankees in Clearwater. Castellanos, according to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is scheduled to make his spring debut Sunday in Dunedin against Toronto.


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