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Phillies Linked to Former MVP Bryant in Latest Rumor

Inside The Phillies
Inside The Phillies
 2021-11-29

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This morning, Jon Morosi linked the Phillies with former MVP Kris Bryant. In desperate need of a left fielder and third baseman, Bryant would be a major acquisition.

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It’s been eight years since 2013 and Dominic Brown that the Phillies last received more than 2 WAR from a third baseman or left fielder. Considering Alec Bohm’s recent struggles and Andrew McCutchen’s departure in free agency, that trend looks likely to continue.

Monday morning, Jon Morosi of MLB.COM tweeted that both the Mariners and Phillies have been “linked to Kris Bryant in the last several days.” The utility outfielder would be a major prize for a Phillies team that lacks a consistent starter at both third base and left field.

Bryant, who won Rookie of the Year in 2015 and MVP in 2016, has been a remarkably consistent producer nearly his entire career. Excluding 2020’s shortened season, Bryant’s OPS has never dipped below .834 in a single season and outside of a minor injury in 2020 and a 2018 shoulder injury, he’s never seen the injured list.

However, the Phillies may be hesitant to dish out another large contract considering the litany of high AAV multi-year deals already on the books. According to MLBTradeRumors a Bryant contract might look something like 6 years/$160 million, while Ben Clemens of Fangraphs predicts , 8 years/$200 million.

Though the pre-lockout free agent scene may seem gloomy for the Phillies thus far, one glimmer of hope for fans could be the Mariners acquisition of 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. Costing a clean $115 million over five seasons the Mariners added $23 million to their 2022 payroll Monday afternoon, and therefore may be reluctant to add another big salary to their budget so soon.

Should the Phillies sign Bryant this offseason, not only would his positional flexibility be valuable, but so to would his on-base ability. Bryant’s career OBP is .376 and since Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies have struggled to find a consistent lead-off hitter.

Though Bryant’s bat would play just as well in the middle of the order due to his power, a dependable lead-off man would work wonders for run production, especially coming off a season in which Odubel Herrera’s .310 OBP saw a bulk of time in the lead-off spot.

If the Phillies are afraid to chase Bryant due to his steep price tag, cheaper left field options include Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, and Michael Conforto, any of whom would provide slightly worse defense but also a steady top of the order bat.

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