Could the Phillies take advantage of another team’s misfortunes?
As the Phillies look to add talent and expand their payroll this offseason, the Kansas City Royals are planning on doing the complete opposite.
Jon Heyman of Fancred and MLB Network reports that the Royals expect to cut their payroll by $30-35 million this offseason. As a small market team that needs to rebuild just three years after winning the World Series, Kansas City can’t afford to carry a $120 million payroll.
Could the Phillies use their financial flexibility to improve their club this year through the Royals pending fire sale?
Three players (Alex Gordon, Danny Duffy, and Ian Kennedy) account for an astounding 61.53% of the Royals payroll next year. Gordon covers nearly 24% of the payroll on his own in the final guaranteed year of his $72 million deal.
A five-time Gold Glove winner, Gordon’s deal doesn’t reflect his performance at the plate in recent years. He’s no longer the player who hit .300 and picked up 40-50 doubles in a season. Instead he’s hitting .223 in his last three seasons with a .310 on-base percentage.
Needless to say, the Phillies don’t have room for another underachieving hitter in their outfield.
Duffy would add a southpaw to the starting rotation, but he’s dealing with a “shoulder impingement” that shut him down for the season earlier this month. His ERA jumped 1.05 points this year and he’s only had one season where he’s finished above .500 when starting more than five games.
If I’m not selling you on Duffy, I’ll mention the $46 million price tag over the next three seasons.
Kennedy turns 34 this offseason and is still owed $33 million over the next two years. He hasn’t turned out an impressive season in years and the only season that stands out was in 2011 when he finished fourth in the Cy Young.
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Unfortunately, none of the Royals top three cap hits make sense on or off the field for Philadelphia.
Catcher Salvador Perez is another option coming off his sixth-consecutive All-Star game, but he’s locked in for three more years with $39.6 million left. The Phillies would like to keep a veteran behind Jorge Alfaro, potentially Wilson Ramos, but not at the price or longevity Perez would come with.
Philadelphia reportedly inquired on infielder Whit Merrifield, who made just $569,500 this season and is under team control next year as well. Merrifield is cheap for a low-budget Royals team and at 30-years-old he doesn’t make sense for the Phillies long-term despite having a 5.2 WAR this year.
Overall there’s not much to love from the Phillies perspective when evaluating the Royals roster. Teams in similar situations to the Royals will draw attention from the Phillies if the right player comes along, but for now there is not such player in Kansas City.