Phils ink Kingery to unprecedented 6-year deal

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Kingery not only made the Opening Day roster, but he guaranteed he will be in a Phillies uniform for a long time.

On Monday, the Phillies introduced Kingery in a news conference after the prospect signed a six-year, $24 million contract Sunday that will carry him through the 2023 season and includes club options for '24-26 that could make the deal worth $65 million, a source told MLB.com.

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

If Kingery becomes a superstar like the Phils believe he will, it will be a marvelous club-friendly deal. Kingery, meanwhile, just became set for life. Kingery's teammates? They believe they just got a whole lot closer to their postseason dreams.

"I'm getting chills just thinking about it," teammate Rhys Hoskins said Sunday. "I'm so excited for this team. It's an exciting day."

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In an unprecedented day for the Phillies, Kingery became just the second drafted player in baseball history to sign a multiyear contract before he ever spent a day in the big leagues. Houston's Jon Singleton is the other.

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The Phillies see little risk. They believe Kingery, who is the No. 35 prospect in baseball and the Phils' No. 2 prospect, is that good.

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"This, from an organizational perspective, is the best success story we could have -- a guy that was drafted by the Phillies, developed through our system and achieves a moment like this through hard work and grit and determination," said general manager Matt Klentak. "It is exactly what you want as an organization.

"Phillies fans are going to love this guy. I think they already do, and he hasn't even played a day in the big leagues. His style of play, his talent, his hustle, the way he goes about his business every day is going to be a perfect fit for the City of Philadelphia and our fans and our team. We are absolutely thrilled not only to sign him to this contract but to welcome him to our Opening Day roster."

"He's the kind of guy you make an investment in," Phillies 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's contract creates a fascinating storyline for the 2018 Phils.

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Simply, how will it work?

A source said the Phillies have no plans to trade Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco or any other player to give Kingery more playing time. The Phils believe Kapler can manage the roster effectively enough to keep everybody happy. Hernandez could be the most affected, considering second base is both players' natural position.

"[Kingery] really forced our hand with the way he played [this spring]," said Klentak. "Kap and I talk regularly, we have meetings with the coaches and front office and talk about the best group to bring north, the best team we can put on the field to win every day. Kap talks about that all the time. I know our players talk about it all the time -- putting everybody in the best position to win.

"Scott Kingery puts us in the best position to win. His presence on our roster. As camp progressed, that was becoming more and more clear."

Hernandez said he is not worried about it. Kapler said he shouldn't be.

"We've been discussing it since the offseason with all of our guys who can play multiple positions," Kapler said. "It's an awesome issue to address. And I think it starts with getting guys blows to keep them healthy and strong. We'll do that with guys all over the diamond. Then Scott gets his reps at positions all over the place. At the end of the day, these guys are all going to look up and be like, 'Holy smokes. I played every day, somehow, some way.'"

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Kapler, who declined to say if Kingery will be in the Opening Day lineup, said he sees Kingery being able to start at six positions: second base, third base, shortstop and the three outfield positions. Kapler added he could see Kingery maybe even starting at first base later this season.

"I think it gives us an opportunity to be healthy and strong not just in April and May, but deep into the season as well," said Kapler. "Let's be frank here. This works because Scott has the ability -- not just the willingness -- and the overall athleticism to move around the diamond. Now this also requires his teammates to also be flexible and recognize that when Scott's on the field at various positions -- and he will play various positions -- that that makes us a better club and gives us a better opportunity from the jump.

"I think we're in a unique position with a bunch of great teammates, a really athletic individual, a very flexibly-minded individual, for all of this to work beautifully. I have no concerns about it."

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Kingery had been ticketed to open the season in Triple-A because the Phils could guarantee an extra season of team control if they waited until April 13 to promote him.

The contract makes that no longer an issue.

"It wasn't a certain thing for me," said Kingery. "I was just working as hard as I could throughout camp and proving what I could do every time I stepped on the field. It all became a reality just a couple of days ago."

A source told MLB.com that Kingery will make $750,000 this season, $1.25 million in 2019, $1.5 million in '20, $4 million in '21, $6 million in '22 and $8 million in '23. The club options are $13 million in '24, $14 million in '25 and $15 million in '26. The deal includes a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $1 million buyout.

"I think the message is, 'We're ready. We're ready to take a major step forward,'" Kapler said.

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