Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are famous for their unpopular ballpark and minuscule payroll. The latter might wreck Kevin Kiermaier‘s dream of spending his entire career calling the former his home field.
At 31 years old, Kiermaier is the Rays’ longest-tenured player, though that’s not saying much for a team that regularly deals away top talent to continue padding their abundant farm system.
When it comes to Kiermaier, the Phillies will have to weigh three issues. Is his defense is worth a decrease in offensive production? Can he stay healthy? Is he worth $12M?
2022 will be the final year of Kiermaier’s contract, and while he’s owed $12M for it, only $8.9M of that counts towards the luxury tax. In that sense, he’d be one of the more affordable options on this list, which will be important to the Phillies, who only have approximately $30M of space under the threshold. Of course, they could always exceed it.
Defensively, it doesn’t get much better than Kiermaier, who has three Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove to his name. Offensively, he’s not exactly the slugger they’re hoping for. He’s a lifetime .249/.310/.410 hitter with a career .720 OPS, who averages 14 home runs per season.
However, Kiermaier also has a long injury history, and it should at least give the Phillies pause. Kiermaier has been in the Majors for eight seasons – nine if you count his one-game debut in 2013 – and has only played more than 129 games once, back in 2015.
Of course, if Kiermaier doesn’t pan out, it’s only one season wasted. On the other hand, it would be a waste of Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler, too.