After months of wondering, wishing, hoping – seriously, I’ve written about this happening at least 10 times since November – it’s happening.
The Philadelphia Phillies are signing Kyle Schwarber to a 4-year deal.
The news was reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury and confirmed by FanSided’s own Robert Murray on Wednesday morning.
And according to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Phillies beat out the Boston Red Sox to get him.
This signing is a fit for several reasons: a serious need for added power to the lineup, outfield versatility, and the vacant DH position, which was officially added to the National League in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified last week.
And with the CBT increased by $20M, the Phillies have the payroll flexibility they were so concerned about last fall, when they came close to signing Schwarber, but stalled before the lockout. Of course, they could’ve just bucked up and exceeded the tax, but that’s an issue for another, less happy day.
Schwarber brings a powerful presence to the lineup, and the idea of him and Bryce Harper slugging together should terrify the rest of the National League, especially after how Schwarber hit in 2021. He set new career highs in every section of his slash line, hitting .266/.374/.554 with a .928 OPS and 32 home runs, including 16 in 18 games in June. A hamstring injury sidelined him midseason, limiting him to 113 games, but he still managed to have one of the best seasons of his career.
As Murray noted, Schwarber has 32 home runs in 91 career games in NL East ballparks, which will come in handy as he will now spend the bulk of his seasons hitting in them.
His postseason experience was also attractive to the Phillies, as the current roster has the longest-tenured active players without postseason appearances, Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto. Schwarber’s mammoth grand slam during the 2021 ALCS was one of many moments in his lengthy highlight reel.
The signing also reunites Schwarber with the hitting coach whom he credits with his resurgence last season, Kevin Long, whom the Phillies hired at the beginning of the offseason. The hiring was actually one of the first indicators that Schwarber would consider the Phillies as a landing spot in free agency.
After months of wondering what the front office would do when the lockout ended, and a week of watching other teams go big when it did, Phillies fans finally have some good news. It’s been a long time coming.