Philadelphia Phillies: Extending Scott Kingery was the right call

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

While the Philadelphia Phillies’ season didn’t go as planned, at least Scott Kingery proved that his six-year, $24 million contract extension was justified.

Mercifully, the Philadelphia Phillies 2019 season is (basically) over.

While things obviously didn’t go as many fans – and surely the team – had hoped when Bryce Harper was guaranteed basically all of the money to leave the comforts of Washington and bypass Magic Johnson and the temperate climate of Los Angeles to make the City of Brotherly Love his home for the next decade and change, the sheer lack of success – when paired with Gabe Kapler‘s bizarre fixation with computer-generated lineups – gave fans a chance to check out some of the less-heralded younger players in make or break roles.

For example, after coming out to a lightning-fast start back in April, we now know that Maikel Franco probably isn’t going to be the Phillies long-term answer at third base.

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But fortunately for fans who sat through the better part of six months watching an average-at-best baseball team squander their talent, a few gems shone through the seeping dumpster fire and gave disconcerted observers a glimmer of hope for the future; with the brightest among them being Scott(y) ‘Jetpacks’ Kingery.

A second-round pick out of Arizona in 2015, Kingery made the controversial decision to sign a long-term deal before playing a single game with the Phillies big club; signing a six-year, $24 million deal five days before making his MLB debut.

While this deal was the most paid out to a player without appearing in an MLB game, it seemed like a pretty good bet for all parties involved, as the Phillies received a minimum of six additional years of service for a young prospect on the rise, and Kingery made out like a bandit before taking a single at-bat – all the while opening the door for up to $65 million if a trio of options get picked up from 2024-26.

But as these things go, some fans publicly questioned whether Kingery was worth such an exorbitant price tag without having made the plays to back it up – Philly fans will be Philly fans after all.

However, if the lowly 2019 season is of any indication, it would appear Kingery is the type of player worth investing in early.

In 126 games of action, Kingery scored 64 runs on 118 hits all the while splitting his time between second base, his natural position, third base, and center field. Kingery also showcased deceptive power, logging a career-high 19 home runs and 55 RBIs for a total slugging percentage of 47.4.

While things weren’t always pretty for Mr. Jetpacks, as his struggles down the stretch produced headlines like “A reason for Scott Kingery’s September struggles?” (spoiler alert, it was blurry vision), Kingery’s season, when viewed objectively as a whole, was among the most encouraging of any player on the roster; a lone bright spot in a sea of despair, if you will.

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Now strangely among the most tenured players on the team – which in and of itself may be part of the team’s problems – Scott Kingery will be tasked with helping to pick up the pieces of this wasted season and inch the Philadelphia Phillies back to contention a little slower than fans may have initially hoped; but hey, with four more guaranteed years on the books, at least he has time on his side.