The Phillies bolstered their lineup in a major way on Wednesday, signing slugger Kyle Schwarber to a four-year, $79 million deal.
After getting non-tendered by the Cubs last offseason and signing a one-year deal with the Nationals, the 29-year-old Schwarber gets rewarded with a long-term deal. Though he got off to a slow start in Washington, Schwarber caught fire in June, posting a 1.122 OPS with 16 homers for the month and earning his first All-Star nod. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury cost him several months, preventing him from playing in the All-Star Game and basically putting the final nail in the coffin that was the Nationals’ season. Schwarber was dealt to the Red Sox at the deadline and was very good upon his return, hitting .291/.435/.522 with seven homers in 41 games with Boston. He also hit three homers in 11 playoff games.
Schwarber has long been talked about as a player who fits best at DH, perhaps because of his husky build and the fact that he was converted from catcher to outfield at the professional level. He’s actually shown himself to be a solid corner outfielder over the years, though, and he’s expected to play there a majority of the time in Philadelphia. That would allow the Phillies, who have an array of below-average defensive players with Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm, and Bryce Harper, to rotate the DH position around rather than slotting one player into that role.