Phillies Free Agency Outlook: 4 Potential Post-Lockout Outfield Targets
The MLB is completely locked out. Along with all 29 other teams, the Phillies can’t make trades, signings, negotiations, and more. Even headshots on the mlb.com website are gone. The lockout isn’t predicted to interrupt the regular season, but it could affect the time frame of free-agent signings after it is over.
The Phillies still have multiple players and positions on their wish list. They signed relief pitcher Corey Knebel and inked Johan Camargo, infielder, to a contract as well. Right now, the top of the Phillies list has to be an outfielder. There are four outfielders out there right now that should be at the top of their list.
I’ve written a lot about Kyle Schwarber. The big-bat corner outfielder can just flat-out hit the ball. Schwarber was linked to the Phillies earlier in the offseason, and then again on MLB Network with Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long. Jim Salisbury recently confirmed interest reports just two days before the lockout.
Schwarber started his season with the Nationals but was dealt at the trade deadline to the Boston Red Sox. In 41 games with the Red Sox, Schwarber slashed a line of .291/.435/.522, good for an OPS of .957. Schwarber also contributed 39 hits, 7 HRs, and 18 RBIs, giving him a total of 32 HRs and 71 RBIs throughout the season.
Schwarber would be a big signing for the Phillies, bringing a big bat to hit potentially between Hoskins and JT, or anywhere he is needed in the lineup. Although the DH is currently not in the national league, there is heavy speculation that it could be making its way through the league for the 2022 season. Right now, this seems like the most realistic signing after the lockout is finished.
Kyle Schwarber is the most likely option at this point, but Kris Bryant intrigues me the most. Kris Bryant is one of those guys that can do it all. Bryant started last season with the Cubs but was then dealt to the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline, where he played third base, left field, right field, and center field with San Fran.
Bryant throughout his career has turned into a utility guy but is comfortable at any position that he is able to play. Bryant hit .262/.344/.444 in 51 games with the Giants, tallying 7 HRs, 22 RBIs, and an OPS of .788. He totaled 25 HRs and 73 RBIs on the whole year last year, good for an OPS of .835, with a .481 slugging percentage. He’s a career .278 hitter, with a .880 career OPS and over 200+ doubles throughout his career.
Kris Bryant is an all-around ballplayer. He can hit the ball, play defense, and have a longtime relationship with Bryce Harper. There seems to be a lot of teams interested in Kris Bryant, respectfully, due to his ability to play all around the field. If the Phillies have the chance to get Kris Bryant in red pinstripes, they need to pull the trigger.
Kevin Kiermaier is a defensive machine. That’s what you’re going to get if you trade for a player like him. He’s not the flashiest hitter in the league by any means, but he can get the job done at the plate if needed. He saw an offensive surge in 2021, hitting .259/.328/.716 with an OPS+ of 104.
Kiermaier will make $12 million in 2022 and is one of the Rays’ highest-paid players. With all the reports coming out as of recent, all signs are leading to the Rays declining his club option. With the current age of Kiermaier (32), it seems like Dombrowski could get a deal done at a low cost, not giving up any significant prospects.
I’ve thought about an outfield of Schwarber/Keirmaier/Harper too many times. Get it done.
The meme, big bat, all-star, whatever you want to call him. Nick Castellanos is coming off the best season of his career, being the backbone of the Cincinnati Reds team throughout his 138 games played. Castellanos slashed .309/.362/.576, with 34 HRs, 100 RBIs, 38 doubles, and an OPS of .939. He finished the season with a 3.2 WAR and played 135 games in right field for the Reds last season.
Nick Castellanos has everything to his game. His 3.2 WAR affects offense and defense, and he can flat out crush the baseball. He obviously will get moved to left field if signed with the Phillies, with Bryce Harper already being in right field. That corner duo would be one of the best in the league, and throwing Castellanos in a top-lineup of Harper/Hoskins/JT/Segura will be one of the best top-of-the orders in the MLB.
The bottom line here is that the Phillies have their options. They have defensive options in the outfield, they have big bat options in the outfield, and they have utility guys on the board as well. When the MLB lockout ends, keep an eye on these four guys to fill our holes in the grass at CBP.
Ring it. Go P*******.