Phils' Scott Kingery celebrates $24M, 6-year deal with homer

ESPN logo
Monday, March 26, 2018

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Kingery celebrated his historic contract with a home run.

A day after the Phillies gave the prized prospect a $24 million, six-year contract that could be worth $65 million over nine seasons, Kingery went deep in his second at-bat against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in Philadelphia's next-to-last spring training game.

"It's unbelievable to be in a moment like this," Kingery said a few hours earlier. "Right now, I'm just excited and with the talented group of guys we've got in this clubhouse. It's an exciting time and there's something special going on. For me, there is a lot of excitement to get up to Philly and get this thing started."

Kingery gets a $1.5 million signing bonus payable within 90 days of the deal's approval by the commissioner's office and salaries of $750,000 this year, $1.25 million in 2019, $1.5 million in 2020, $4 million in 2021, $6 million in 2022 and $8 million in 2023. The Phillies have 2024 option at $13 million with a $1 million buyout, a 2025 option at $14 million with a $500,000 buyout and 2026 option at $15 million with a $250,000 buyout. Only the first buyout is guaranteed.

He received the largest guarantee for a player with no major league experience, topping Stephen Strasburg's $15.1 million, four-year deal with Washington after the pitcher was taken with the first pick in the 2009 amateur draft. Since the rules were changed after the 2011 season, forcing all draft picks to sign only minor league contracts, the largest had been first baseman Jon Singleton's $10 million, five-year contract with Houston in 2014.

Tampa Bay gave third baseman Evan Longoria a $17.5 million, six-year contract after he played six games in 2008, a deal with options that would have been worth $44.5 million over nine seasons had not the player and team agreed to a new deal in November 2012.

"As an organization, this is the best success tory we can have," general manager Matt Klentak said. "A guy who was drafted by the Phillies, developed through the system and achieves a moment like this through hard work and grit and determination. It's exactly what you want as an organization."

The 23-year-old Kingery doesn't have a full-time starting job yet, so manager Gabe Kapler plans to use him in a utility role. Kingery is regarded as the best second-base prospect in baseball but the Phillies currently have Cesar Hernandez as their starting second baseman. Kingery can play third base, shortstop and all three outfield spots.

"Scott has the ability and not just the willingness and overall athleticism to move around the diamond," Kapler said. "We're in a unique position with great teammates, a really athletic individual, a flexibly-minded individual for all of this to work beautifully."

Kingery hit .304 with 26 home runs and 29 steals as a second baseman for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading last year. He was a second-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft from the University of Arizona.

The Phillies were 66-96 last year and haven't had a winning season since 2011. They've been aggressive in the offseason and signed ace Jake Arrieta and veteran Carlos Santana.