- The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The NL East is becoming the DH hub of the MLB. 

Three days after the Nationals agreed to a deal with Nelson Cruz, the top designated hitter on the market, the Phillies on Wednesday are reportedly in agreement with the second-best DH in free agency — former National Kyle Schwarber

Schwarber, a former top prospect with the Chicago Cubs, was expected to be one of the most sought-after hitters in free agency due to his resurgent 2021 season and the DH coming to the National League.

NBC Sports’ Jim Salisbury was first to report the deal. The Athletic’s Jayson Stark tweeted that the contract is expected to be four years with an annual value of close to $20 million. 

After spending six seasons with the Cubs, Schwarber was signed to a one-year deal by the Nationals, who saw the left-handed power hitter have a career year in the District last year. In just 72 games, Schwarber smacked 25 homers and was selected to his first All-Star Game. Washington then dealt him to Boston, where he hit .291 with 17 extra-base hits in 41 games. 

Unlike Cruz, who is exclusively a designated hitter at this point in his career, Schwarber gives the Phillies some flexibility. The 29-year-old can play left field and first base — although not at a high level — to provide manager Joe Girardi options for his lineup. 

Former Nationals slugger and reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper had stumped for the Phillies to sign Schwarber. He said this week it would be a “downer” if the Phillies didn’t sign Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos or Schwarber.

Harper said Wednesday that he was thrilled with the move.

“It’s huge for us. It gives us another bat in the lineup,” Harper said. “He’s a proven winner everywhere he’s gone. He’s done a really good job. He gives us a huge opportunity to fill that void out in left field.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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