Did the Phillies offer Kris Bryant a contract before Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos?
The Philadelphia Phillies made a bigger splash in free agency this spring than most people expected, signing several relievers and then breaking the bank to add Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.
For the first time in franchise history, they’ll pay the luxury tax, as Castellanos’ five-year, $100M deal put them over the top. Fans are thrilled, as the blockbuster signings signal a shift from scrimping to going full-send.
The Phillies were linked to Schwarber and Castellanos before the MLB lockout began on December 2, however, according to a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the club might have had a different free agent in mind when free agency reopened earlier this month.
According to Nightengale, the Phillies made Kris Bryant a 5-year offer. The versatile free agent is a childhood friend of Bryce Harper, and the Phillies star was reportedly pushing for his team to sign Bryant.
However, Bryant, who watched Harper go through free agency three years ago, wanted the security of “at least a seven-year deal,” which is what the Colorado Rockies gave him. After he chose the Rockies, who will pay him $182M, the Phillies gave Schwarber four years at $79M, and Castellanos, five years and $100M.
The Phillies’ ownership has claimed for a long time that they were willing to exceed the threshold for a difference-maker. Bryant, who plays five defensive positions, slugs, and has ample postseason experience, absolutely fits that description, though the Rockies reportedly will make him the full-time left-fielder with the occasional DH game. He is certainly a more versatile and adept defender than Castellanos and Schwarber, the latter of whom will likely be the Phillies’ everyday DH.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that the Phillies went out and spent big on power-hitters to slug them out of their decade-long postseason drought. It will be years before we know definitively if they chose the right players, but considering teams like the Yankees and Padres didn’t sign any of this free-agent class’ big stars, things could be much worse.