This year just keeps getting better for Middletown native Kyle Schwarber.
In no particular order, his No. 12 baseball jersey at Middletown High School was retired, he was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame, and on Wednesday, it was announced that the 29-year-old slugger was signing a four-year, nearly $80 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
And his wife, Paige, is expecting their first child.
The 2011 MHS graduate earned $10 million last season when he played with the Washington Nationals before being traded to the Boston Red Sox. He batted a combined .266 with 32 home runs, 71 RBIs and a .928 OPS in 113 games last season with those teams.
The Phillies do not have a leadoff hitter and Schwarber hit 17 homers with a .385 on-base percentage and a 1.216 OPS in 27 games hitting first.
He’s expected to be in camp before the end of the week, according to sources.
Middletown High School Athletic Director Justin “JD” Foust has said Schwarber periodically lifted weights during the off-season at Wade E. Miller Gym, then took batting practice in the cages at Barnitz Stadium.
Now in his eighth season in the Major Leagues, Schwarber’s teams have qualified for the postseason six times, including the 2016 World Series with the Cubs.
“He’s a proven winner,” Phillies slugger Bryce Harper told the media before the team’s workout at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Fla. “Everywhere he’s gone, he’s done a really good job. It just gives us a huge opportunity to fill that void in left field, and it gives us a huge opportunity to get that much better.”
Schwarber has played outfield and first base and probably will be used extensively as a designated hitter with the Phillies.
Signed out of Indiana University as a catcher by the Chicago Cubs, Schwarber hit 94 home runs in a three-year span. Then in 2020, he hit .188 with 11 home runs playing in 59 of 60 games. He was non-tendered by the Cubs and signed a one-year deal with the Nationals.
Those interested in watching Schwarber play with the Phillies this season at Great American Ball Park will only have three games, Aug. 15-17. Monday and Tuesday games start at 6:40 p.m. followed by a 12:35 p.m. game on Wednesday.