Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has met regularly through spring training with the coaching staff, trying to determine the best group of players to leave Florida for opening day. Those conversations kept moving to Scott Kingery, a player who had to reach the majors and was almost guaranteed to start the season in triple A.
The Phillies, Klentak said Monday morning, did something "unprecedented and record-setting" when they signed Kingery to a long-term contract that puts him on the opening-day roster and could keep him in Philadelphia through the 2026 season.
"Scott Kingery puts us in the best position to win, his presence on our roster," Klentak said at a news conference in Clearwater, Fla. "As camp progressed, that was becoming more and more clear."
"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."
Kingery enters Monday's game against the Pirates slashing .392/.415/.725 in 20 spring games. He has played second base, shortstop, third base, right field, and center field. The first position he plays in the majors might not be second base, his natural position. And that is fine, Kingery said.
Manager Gabe Kapler asked him before spring training if was willing to try multiple positions, as the manager believed that would give him a better chance of reaching the Phillies sooner. Kingery obliged, but starting the season as a millionaire in the major leagues seemed to be far from possible then.