Phillies sign Scott Kingery to unprecedented 6-year deal

Philadelphia Phillies sign Scott Kingery to six year deal
Scott Kingery walked past the dugout at Spectrum Field on Sunday afternoon with a smile beaming across his face and shook every outstretched hand offering congratulations.

The 23-year-old had every right to smile, receiving word he not only made the Opening Day roster but also inked a six-year, $24 million contract that will keep him with the Phillies through the 2023 season with club options for '24-'26 that could make the deal worth $65 million.

The deal marks only the second time in baseball history a club has signed a prospect to a long-term deal without him ever appearing in a major league game, but that's the type of praise the Phillies have for Kingery.

"He's the kind of guy you make an investment in," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He's the kind of character you make an investment in. He's the kind of all-around athlete that you make an investment in. Now, we have leaders in our clubhouse. Guys who we will be working with for years and years to come. They are the right kind of leaders. They post every day. They play their hearts out. They care for their teammates. Guys like Scott, but not just Scott. Rhys Hoskins and Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola. Our core guys lead by example. And how cool is that? I don't think there are a lot of clubs who can say that."

Kingery is the Phillies' No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline and No. 35 in all of baseball. He's also pieced together a stellar spring, hitting .392 with a team-leading 20 hits, four homers, seven RBIs, and four stolen bases.

Perhaps just as important as his skill at the plate, Kingery has shown this spring that he's comfortable playing nearly anywhere on the diamond and that's something Kapler puts significant value in. He's spent time this spring at second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions.

"This isn't new," Kapler said. "The Cubs have done it with their players. The Dodgers have done it with their players. The Astros have done it with their players. Scotty fits that profile beautifully. Part of this is his buy-in from the very beginning. 'I'll play anywhere.' One of the things we told him today was, 'Bring all of your gloves.' Right? Every glove you have, bring it. Be prepared to go in at any time and start a lot. Get a lot of repetitions. We'll demonstrate we are capable of a juggling act."

Kapler mentioned in December that he's interested in a dynamic lineup that allows for days off for everyone, but that means players need to be comfortable at playing other positions and rotating around the field.

"We can make it work and we have the personnel to do it," Kapler said at the Winter Meetings. "Other teams have done it in the past and it saves guys from exhaustion later in the year. People put up better numbers because they're fresher. It's not just about at-bats, it's about productive at-bats and you need a dynamic roster to move guys in and out."

It was expected that Kingery would begin the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley to initially get everyday at-bats, plus the Phillies could guarantee an extra season of control if they waited until April 13 to promote him. Today's developments make all of that moot.

It's a bold move for an organization that has shown over the last several months that it's not worried about being conventional.

"Be bold, be inspiring," Kapler said earlier this spring as a team motto. "It's okay to be different in your approach, particularly if you bring passion to the table."

It's clear the entire Phillies organization has embraced Kapler's mindset.

"It's more fun that way anyway."
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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