Phillies Had Fifth-Lowest Payroll in Baseball in 2016

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Sep 17, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) celebrates with first base coach Mickey Morandini (12) after pitching a complete game three hit shutout against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Marlins, 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) celebrates with first base coach Mickey Morandini (12) after pitching a complete game three hit shutout against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Marlins, 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Once big spenders, the Phillies payroll has significantly dropped, all the way to the fifth-lowest among all MLB teams in 2016.

When the Phillies handed Odubel Herrera a five-year, $30.5 million extension, it was the most guaranteed money they handed to any one player since Cole Hamels earned his large, $144 million deal in 2012. That lack of large contracts caused the team’s payroll to plummet, reaching a new low this year.

The Associated Press obtained the payroll numbers submitted by each team for luxury tax purposes, which includes “items such as health and pension benefits; club medical costs; insurance; workman’s compensation, payroll, unemployment and Social Security taxes; spring training allowances; meal and tip money; All-Star game expenses; travel and moving expenses; postseason pay; and college scholarships.” According to these numbers, the Phillies payroll came in at $103,112,427 in 2016. This was the fifth-lowest payroll among all teams, with just Oakland, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, and Milwaukee paying less.

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Ryan Howard alone received nearly a quarter of that money. He earned $25 million in 2016 in the last year of his monster contract. The two next-highest salaries went to players who barely played or didn’t play at all. Matt Harrison was paid $13.2 million to sit on the 60-day disabled list and Charlie Morton received eight million for his four starts before tearing his hamstring.

The Phillies’ 2016 payroll was about two-thirds of what it was in 2015. Using the luxury-tax formula, the team had a $159.9 million payroll, which was the ninth-highest in the MLB. They paid Howard $25 million, Cliff Lee $25 million, Hamels $15.1 million, Chase Utley $14 million, and Jonathan Papelbon $12.6 million. Even though they traded Hamels, Utley, and Papelbon, they still paid their salaries as part of the trade.

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2016 was the first season since 2003 that the Phillies had a payroll below the league average according to Baseball Prospectus. On their graph of payroll compensation, you can see the amount of money spent on players fall considerably from 2015 to 2016.

According to Matt Breen of Philly.com, Philadelphia’s payroll will likely be about the same in 2017. The team has just over $59 million committed to players next season and another $24 million in retained salary according to Spotrac. Jeremy Hellickson has the largest salary at $17.2 million from his qualifying offer.

New acquisition Clay Buchholz will earn $13.5 million as the next-highest paid player. Harrison will still be paid $13 million even though the team cut him to open up his 40-man roster spot.

Next: Phillies Rumors: Team Acquires Clay Buchholz From Red Sox

The Dodgers had the highest payroll, eclipsing $252 million in total payroll. The Yankees both weren’t too far behind at nearly $244 million. Both had to pay a 50 percent luxury tax on the amount of payroll over $189 million after the Dodgers paid a 40 percent rate and the Yankees paid a 50 percent rate in 2015.

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