Can the Phillies sign Kyle Schwarber after the MLB lockout ends?
He’d certainly be a perfect fit for the team, as he can bat leadoff, slug a ton of home runs, and play both outfield and first base. Schwarber also worked closely with hitting coach Kevin Long last offseason and credits him with transforming his offensive power. Long is now the Phillies’ hitting coach.
However, with his 2021 numbers, Schwarber won’t come cheap, so if the Phillies are set on luring him away from the Red Sox, here’s how much he’s reportedly looking for:
Three years in the “$60M range.”
Schwarber had one of the best seasons of his seven-year career in 2021. He set new personal bests in batting average (.266), on-base % (.374), slugging (.554), and OPS (.928), each by significant margins. He hit 32 home runs, including 16 in 18 games between June 12-29.
After being traded to the Red Sox, he helped them reach the postseason and go deeper than anyone expected; his grand slam in the ALCS was one of several highlights.
There is “mutual” interest between the Phillies and Kyle Schwarber
While FanSided’s own Robert Murray noted recently that there is “very mutual” interest between the free agent and the Phillies, money reportedly got in the way.
Will the Phillies exceed the luxury tax threshold for the first time in franchise history?
Presumably, the sticking point is that the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expired on December 1, stipulated that a player’s average annual value (AAV) was what counted towards the annual luxury tax, which was $210M in 2021. So, if the new CBA does not amend that rule, Schwarber will be costly each year, regardless of whether the Phillies pay Schwarber $5M one year and $20M the next. With the current Phillies’ payroll, this wouldn’t leave them much room to make the other necessary upgrades.
That is, unless they throw caution to the wind.
The Phillies have never exceeded the luxury tax threshold, however, president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, stated ahead of the 2021 trade deadline that it was something they were willing to do.
If the Phillies don’t want to waste Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler’s golden years, exceeding the luxury tax threshold feels necessary. The farm system is improving, but they can’t wait that long. Signing Schwarber is a move that shows the rest of the league the Phillies are serious about contending.
When the lockout ends, we’ll find out exactly how serious they are.