Phillies: Breaking down the 2019 payroll
What does Phillies general manager Matt Klentak have to play with this offseason?
Few teams enter the 2019 offseason with more questions than the Phillies after a dominant first half led to an epic second half collapse. Nearly every superstar free agent will be linked to Philadelphia this offseason as they continue to build their team towards being a perennial title contender.
Philadelphia has seven notable free agents this offseason, though it’s likely most will not be retained. The majority of the free agents (Wilson Ramos, Aaron Loup, Jose Bautista, Asdrubal Cabrera) were acquired at the trade deadline, and outside of Ramos they had very little impact on the season.
Trevor Plouffe, Will Middlebrooks, and Pedro Beato are three of the notable minor league free agents expected to leave the organization.
Ramos is perhaps the only player of that group who could be retained after he hit nearly .400 after the trade deadline. Pairing him with Jorge Alfaro would be perfect for the Phillies going forward.
According to Spotrac, the Phillies payroll currently sits at just under $69 million. However, only six contracts have been set prior to arbitration and free agency.
Jake Arrieta: $25 million
Carlos Santana: $20.3 million
Tommy Hunter: $9 million
Pat Neshek: $7.75 million
Odubel Herrera: $5.35 million
Scott Kingery: $1.5 million
The Phillies also owe Howie Kendrick $5 million in deferred salary despite him not playing for the team since 2017 and being traded to Washington.
Philadelphia currently gets stars like Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola at the major league minimum at less than $600,000 per season. Given the news that Hoskins signed with super-agent Scott Boras, those numbers could (rightfully) change dramatically.
As for Nola, he’s one of 12 players eligible for arbitration this offseason. The Phillies have the ability to offer each player a one-year deal, and the player can submit a counter-offer. Arbitration hearings could ultimately decide how much a player earns in the 2019 season.
Arb 1: Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Altherr, Adam Morgan, Hector Neris
Arb 2: Luis Garcia, Maikel Franco, Justin Bour,
Arb 3: Pedro Florimon, Cesar Hernandez
Arb 4: Luis Avilan
Nola is likely to receive the largest deal out of all those players after posting a 2.37 ERA this year.
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Players such as Adam Morgan and Pedro Florimon could be DFA candidates to clear space for prospects or free agents, so their arbitration cases could be short-lived.
Since baseball has no salary cap the Phillies can enter this offseason ready to open their checkbooks with little hesitation. They’ll be players for superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, along with other veteran free agents such as Patrick Corbin.
Signing one of either Machado or Harper likely boosts the payroll by $30 million alone, something the ownership won’t flinch at.
Currently the Phillies 2019 payroll is 19th in baseball and well below the $82 million average. Once free agency and arbitration cases are both settled, I expect the payroll to potentially double, assuming a superstar free agent signs with the team.
Between a potential $30 million deal with Harper/Machado and a large arbitration deal with Nola, it’s easy to see the payroll hit $100 million.