The Phillies were often speculated as a suitor for Kris Bryant this winter, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the team did indeed have interest in the former NL MVP. However, Bryant wanted as much long-term security as possible in the form of “at least a seven-year deal,” and he landed that desired contract with his seven-year, $182MM agreement with the Rockies. Philadelphia’s offer topped out at five years, Nightengale writes.
Given the terms, one wonders if the Phillies’ offer to Bryant was somewhat similar to the five-year, $100MM deal the club ended up giving to Nick Castellanos. Even that deal took some additional legwork, since as The Athletic’s Matt Gelb details, the front office first had to convince owner John Middleton that adding Castellanos was worth exceeding the luxury tax threshold for the first time in franchise history. Middleton has long stated that he was willing to pay the tax for a difference-making type of acquisition, and the end result is that the Phillies are now projected to sit above the $230MM threshold with an estimated $236.46MM tax number.
More from the NL East…
- While the Marlins have long coveted Pirates All-Star Bryan Reynolds, the Fish “weren’t planning on” dealing either Max Meyer or JJ Bleday in a trade package for the outfielder, Man On Second’s Joe Frisaro writes. Bleday was the fourth overall pick of the 2019 draft and Meyer the third pick in 2020, with both youngsters considered among the top 100 prospects in baseball, let alone just in Miami’s farm system. Pittsburgh is known to have a big asking price in any Reynolds trade, so it isn’t surprising that the Bucs are aiming high in their demands from the Marlins or other clubs. The Marlins do have a lot of quality minor league depth, so a Reynolds deal can’t be entirely ruled out even if the Fish don’t move either Meyer or Bleday. Frisaro notes that the Marlins are still looking at other center field options besides Reynolds, and the club is also looking for bullpen help either in trades or available free agents.
- Starling Marte has been sidelined by injury for the last week, though both Marte and Mets manager Buck Showalter believe the veteran outfielder will be ready for Opening Day, according to Deesha Thosar of The New York Daily News and other reporters. Marte’s injury is being described by the team as left oblique soreness, and Showalter said Marte underwent several tests to make sure there wasn’t any structural damage on Marte’s left side. However, Marte said that an MRI revealed “something, not a broken rib, but something,” adding somewhat evasively that it was “something like” an intercostal muscle issue.
- Kenley Jansen and Andrew Chafin each drew some interest from the Mets before signing elsewhere, SNY’s Andy Martino reports. For all of the Mets’ moves this winter, they have been relatively quiet on the bullpen front, though Adam Ottavino was recently added on a one-year, $4MM pact. However, quite a few notable veterans (i.e. Alex Claudio, Chasen Shreve, Felix Pena) have been added on minor league deals, and whatever younger arms aren’t in the rotation could also help out in the relief corps.