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March 16, 2022

Shander: Other Philly teams should take note of the Kyle Schwarber signing

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Kyle-Schwarber-Red-Sox-03162-2022 Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

New Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber crushes a grand slam for the Red Sox.

The Phillies got their man and that’s certainly a start. Breaking a 10-year playoff drought is never easy but adding a player like Kyle Schwarber alongside Bryce Harper is one hell of a first step.

Yes, the move came without a follow-up of any Kris Bryant news, but this is a great step in the right direction by an organization that desperately needed one. Anything, be it a skip, step, hop, even a nudge in a positive direction.

This is the first step. It’s a long climb back to the top of baseball, but the Phillies were free-falling. Schwarber instantly makes a positive impact as the expected leadoff hitter, should see some time at the DH spot and in left field. But make no mistake, this deal doesn’t happen without the true GM of any sport – the superstar player.

This is a lesson in listening. A move that paid off because the team recognized the fantastic year Harper had combined with his growing frustration. The Phillies added some help in the back end of their bullpen, but it wasn’t enough to truly appease the MVP. This may not be enough to truly satisfy Harper, but that is a good thing.

We – as fans – should want Harper to continue to push the Phillies to use his leverage in making this a destination spot. Daryl Morey has done this, while Howie Roseman decided against it. On the same day in which many Flyers fans were awaiting news on Claude Giroux and his DMC clause, the Phillies proved how vital leveraging a superstar can be – especially in the offseason.

Bryce Harper is a better GM than anyone the Phillies have making these decisions. He just doesn’t have the time to negotiate contracts or wearing down a potential trade partner. But he knows the game, he knows the weaknesses of his own team, and – most importantly – understands his value in the open market as an anchor.

This is a huge day for Harper and the Phillies as they found a way to actualize this in the form of signing a player like Schwarber.

The same scenario is going to play out this offseason for the 76ers and Mr. Morey is already working the angles. No matter what happens with this year’s Sixers team, the NBA caught wind of two unique players coming together and having fun while doing it. There is an actual base, a true anchor of superstardom found at the Wells Fargo Center now that Harden is here. Harden completed the first step of the puzzle - adding a second player of note to continue to showcase the team.

This plan is going to net the Sixers a third “star” who wants to join these two and win a ring. There’s a huge hole on the wing for any shoot-first guard/forward to walk in here and score 20+ points each night. The basketball allure of playing with Harden and Embiid is as strong as the star-factor.

This is what the Eagles sacrificed by going young this past season, be it their players or coaching staff. Signing a local player like Hasson Reddick was great for fan morale – even though it pretty much shut the door on any first-round LB in the draft. Even Reddick is taking a risk coming here and playing for such an inexperienced defensive coordinator.

Why would Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson want to play here? Who was the anchor to bring Aaron Rodgers over from Green Bay? Roseman and a bag of cash? Ok. That’s what bad teams with cap space do, throw a ton of money at Zay Jones and hope it works.

The Eagles don’t have a Harper or Embiid. Nick Sirianni’s hop-scotch games aren’t bringing in any mega QB to replace Jalen Hurts. They aren’t going to spend up for any WR, even trolling us with belief in Jalen Reagor.

So, much like fans who are going to have to deal with sections of “I told you so” social media, so will the Eagles and their dealings with Hurts. But all of this could have been avoided. The Eagles never had any shot at Wilson, Watson, Rodgers, or Cousins. But the belief they did was more important to them and was truly unfair to Hurts.

You know who spent years in the offseason baiting us with “reports” of interest in big named players, only to never even be close? The Phillies. Yet on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 we saw a subtle shift where suddenly it’s the Eagles looking lost and desperate.

The Phillies went out and used their best piece of leverage in Harper to bring in a star player, while the Eagles were never in any sweepstakes. They had a better chance of Ed McMahon coming to the NovaCare center with one of those big checks than any of these QBs “rumored” to play here.

It was an exercise in futility that kept the Eagles in the news cycle at the expense of their young QB. IF the Eagles truly had a shot – if they had a coach or star player who could sell this young team – then yes, you put Hurts through this because of the potential. But they never had it. They still don’t.

The Phillies did way more than just sign a younger player in his prime, they returned a promise. They honored their pledge to Harper to improve this team - much like Morey will do in the summer.


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