Report: Latest on Red Sox’s competition for Schwarber in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Schwarber declined his $11.5 million mutual option with the Red Sox last Friday to test free agency, and while the team has remained “engaged” with the veteran slugger in contract talks, he has plenty of other suitors.
There are “a lot of teams” showing interest in Schwarber as a free agent, FanSided’s Robert Murray reported Monday. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman suggested Boston is the “favorite” to bring back the slugging outfielder-turned-first baseman, but listed the Philadelphia Phillies as a potential suitor while noting “many others” are in the market for Schwarber.
Such interest for Schwarber was expected after his impressive 2021 campaign. The 28-year-old slugged 25 home runs in 72 games with the Washington Nationals before being dealt to Boston, where he posted a .957 OPS over 41 regular-season games and continued his strong postseason play with three homers and six RBIs in October.
Schwarber also can play both outfield and first base after the Red Sox used him at the latter position down the stretch.
Schwarber isn’t the most natural roster fit in Boston with designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez and young first baseman Bobby Dalbec under contract for 2022. But the seven-year veteran made an unmistakable impact with his bat and quickly became a Red Sox fan favorite. (Get those “Kyle from Waltham” T-shirts while you can!)
The Phillies make plenty of sense for Schwarber as well — his hitting coach in Washington, Kevin Long, just joined Philadelphia in the same role — while the New York Mets could make a play for Schwarber if Michael Conforto leaves in free agency. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo also appeared to leave the door open for Schwarber returning to Washington this offseason.
With a lockout expected to begin Dec. 1 after Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires, Schwarber could choose his destination in the next two weeks, so keep a close eye on his situation over the rest of the month.