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Inbox: Will Kingery be on Phillies' OD roster?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from fans
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

So when could we see Scott Kingery in the big leagues? It would be too sweet to see him in a Phillies uniform on Opening Day. He is the man.
-- Matt B., Torresdale, Pa.

Kingery -- the Phillies' No. 2 prospect -- is impressing everybody once again this spring, and there is little question he is a big leaguer. But there is a legitimate reason that he will not open with the team, and it is a reason Kingery himself understands.

So when could we see Scott Kingery in the big leagues? It would be too sweet to see him in a Phillies uniform on Opening Day. He is the man.
-- Matt B., Torresdale, Pa.

Kingery -- the Phillies' No. 2 prospect -- is impressing everybody once again this spring, and there is little question he is a big leaguer. But there is a legitimate reason that he will not open with the team, and it is a reason Kingery himself understands.

:: Submit a question to the Phillies Inbox ::

If Kingery is promoted on April 13 or later, Philadelphia guarantees an extra season of team control. In other words, Kingery cannot become a free agent until 2024. But by opening the season with the Phils, he can become a free agent in '23.

If you believe that Kingery is a future superstar, you want the Phillies to have that extra season of control.

If you believe that Kingery is a future superstar, but you still want him on the Opening Day roster, essentially giving up one year for two weeks, then I'm not sure what to tell you. I have been reminded that the Phillies could sign Kingery to an extension at some point, making that extra season before free agency moot. The Phils have a track record of doing that (with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels). But that is not a lock. It is only a possibility. Perhaps at some point the Nationals and Orioles thought they might be able to sign Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to contract extensions before they hit free agency. Instead, they will be able to test the market after the season.

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So when could we see Kingery? It might not be April 13, but there are a few scenarios that make sense. First, Kingery could be promoted because of an injury. Second, he might be promoted because somebody is struggling. For example, while Kingery's long-term future is at second base, it would not be crazy to see him playing third base in the short term, if Maikel Franco is struggling. Third, while the Phillies love Cesar Hernandez (.294 batting average, .372 on-base percentage, .778 OPS the past two seasons), they could trade him for starting pitching help before the end of July.

Then, of course, the job would be Kingery's.

Kingery will get his shot, just like Rhys Hoskins, just like Nick Williams, just like Jorge Alfaro, just like J.P. Crawford. But putting Kingery on the Opening Day roster would not be a smart decision by the Phils. They know better.

Video: PHI@TB: Kingery ties game with a two-run homer

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Scott Kingery