The Philadelphia Phillies have finally made a move that satisfies their biggest star.
After news broke Wednesday morning that the Phillies had reeled in a big fish named Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper was positively jubilant:
"“This is huge for us. He’s a big bat in the lineup and a proven winner everywhere he’s gone.”"
Schwarber will join Harper for four years, on a $79M contract. Over the winter, it was revealed that the Phillies had been close to signing Schwarber prior to the lockout, but things stalled because of the Phillies’ self-imposed financial limitations; they have never exceeded the luxury tax threshold before, and reportedly will not exceed it this year.
Ironically, not much ended up changing after the lockout. The CBT increased from $210M to $230M under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but Schwarber’s AAV is almost the same; he had reportedly been looking for a deal in the three-year, $60M ballpark in the fall.
Harper has been pushing his front office to build a better team around him for the better part of the last year. He wanted J.T. Realmuto signed long-term, the Phillies made it happen. He publicly criticized the farm system – or lack thereof – the Phillies overhauled the Player Development department, hiring Preston Mattingly from the San Diego Padres and Anirudh Kilambi from the Tamp Bay Rays.
And despite the aforementioned (self-imposed) financial limitations, he has been pressuring Dave Dombrowski to sign Kris Bryant, though it seems unlikely:
"“Hopefully we’re not done and we can go out and get another guy and see where we go. Anything that is going to help us win and make us better, anyone from pitching to defense to hitting. Whatever Dombrowski thinks will help us.”(NBC Sports Philadelphia)"
It’s a good thing he’s been so pushy, but it also makes you wonder where they’d be right now if he wasn’t.