The Phillies did it! They finally went over the luxury tax and signed Kyle Schwarber on a four year/$79.5m deal and Nicholas Castellanos on a five year/$100m contract. The signings have bolstered the line-up and given the Phillies a stable outfield. 


Obviously, the line-up has the potential for five out of the nine players to hit 20+ home runs in a season and support the core of Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins. 


However, what can we expect from these signings?


Kyle Schwarber and Nicholas Castellanos will both be able to stay healthy and contribute to this team. Unfortunately, the Phillies’ track record of signing players to long-term contracts and the athletes staying healthy has not been in their favor in recent memory (Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson come to mind). In this case, the tide might be turning for the boys in red pinstripes, and the city of Philadelphia sure hopes so. 


Schwarber is electrifying and injury-prone, which does not make him a durable player, but he could really change the game with the universal DH and leading off for the Phillies. The Phillies have not had a consistent and true lead-off hitter in years, and Schwarber could make an impact at the top of the line-up. 


Castellanos is one of those players who can hit almost anywhere in a line-up. On the other hand, he is not the greatest of fielders, but he should be able to hold his own in left daily. Depending on the match-ups, he could hit anywhere between the two-spot and the six-spot. 


The biggest concerns with these free-agent signings are durability and defense. I should preface that defense does not always win championships in baseball. Many teams can slug or pitch their way to a title in any given year. 


The Phillies cannot afford any more “half-baked” schemes they have pulled for the last few seasons. This organization has consistently thrown athletes out onto the field that needed more thought and care, but this year feels different. The Phightin’ Phils really could fight this year! There is no reason the Phillies should not compete or aim to be the NL East Champions this year.


The Phillies have the tools in the line-up. Dave Dombrowski has bolstered the bullpen with the Jherys Familia, Brad Hand, and Corey Knebel. Combining these guys with Seranthony Dominguez, Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod, and Jose Alverado will be an exciting dynamic in late-game relief.  


Starting pitching might be a little problematic because of Zack Wheeler’s setback. Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin must get back on track as consistent starters. Kyle Gibson should hopefully do his job as an innings eater and pan out this year for the Phils. Above all else, as good as he was in every role he played last year, Ranger Suarez needs to take the next step in his starting position.     


Given the article’s title, the bigger picture means the Phillies are a good line-up and good team as they are currently constructed, but there might still be some gaps to worry about down the line. Hopefully, the organization can get a good trade or manipulate the roster to their advantage. 

This Phillies team needs to find their identity and take the league by storm. They have the opportunity and means, but a little motivated heart is what the Phans need to see. 


Photo: Sam Greene/The Enquirer

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