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November 30, 2021

MLB free agency rumors: Phillies have interest in Kyle Schwarber, Corey Knebel

UPDATE [12:20 p.m.] — The Phillies remain quiet as players like Javier Baez sign, and Kris Bryant gets rumored to the Mariners, Blue Jays and Rockies, but the team did make one minor agreement so far Tuesday.

Philly is hoping the return of Seranthony Dominguez for the 2022 season will play a big role in making the bullpen a strength and not a weakness, and they avoided further negotiations with the reliever — who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

From earlier...

Enormous free agent deals are being struck left and right and the Phillies continue to watch and weigh their options.

This could be for a variety of reasons, but with the CBA set to expire later this week and leave Major League Baseball with no labor agreement for the 2022 season and beyond, the team is being understandably cautious. They continue to sit on the sidelines while teams like the Mets and Rangers go on spending sprees — hopeful that whatever agreement follows will be kind to their ballooning payrolls.

Players appear to be eager to press pen to paper to get some kind of deal in writing before things potentially go dark for weeks or months, and so the rumor mill may be drying up over the next few days.

But there is still a chance something happens before then. 

Each of these players fills a big need in Philly. First, Knebel, who appeared in just 42 games over the last two seasons due to Tommy John surgery. His 2021 was impressive with the Dodgers, as he went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2017, appearing in a league high 76 games and compiling 39 saves with a 1.78 ERA. At 30, he could be exactly what the Phillies need to anchor the back of their fragile bullpen — particularly after Hector Neris left for the Astros.

Schwarber will be more costly but will provide some postseason experience while also flexing a power stroke to help the team try and take advantage of their hitter-friendly park, something they haven't done for quite a while. The 28-year-old righty slashed .266/.374/.554 last year split between the Nationals and Red Sox, hitting 32 homers (his 162 game average is 37). 

Schwarber will command something north of $15 million a year, can play the corner outfield roles as well as first base, and slots as a perfect DH should the NL adopt the position for 2022.

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