Dave Dombrowski’s payroll comments won’t thrill Phillies fans

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 31: President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on during batting practice of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 31, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 31: President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on during batting practice of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 31, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Dave Dombrowski instructed not to take Phillies payroll over CBT

The Philadelphia Phillies have never exceeded the luxury tax before in its history, and it looks like that tradition will continue.

Thankfully, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement bumped that ceiling up from $210M to $230M, giving the Phillies considerably more wiggle room; previously, they only had approximately $30M to spend before they’d have to pay the toll.

On Sunday morning, Phillies President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, addressed the media and discussed how his front office planned to upgrade their broken-down roster, which currently has very little offensive power and even less outfield.

According to The Athletic‘s (subscription required) Matt Gelb, Dombrowski has permission to spend up to the limit, but not exceed it:

"“Dombrowski would not elaborate on his revised budget, but sources indicated ownership had authorized Dombrowski to spend as he saw fit — so long as he did not exceed a $230 million budget. That did not mean the Phillies would spend right to that number, but it was permitted.”"

This is a departure from last summer when Dombrowski said the club was willing to exceed the tax, though they never did.

Since this presser took place, the Phillies have agreed to terms with reliever Brad Hand and outfielder Odúbel Herrera, two deals that will cost them up to $8.25M if the latter reaches all his performance incentives. Add this to their previous spending, signing Corey Knebel for $10M and Jeurys Familia for $6M, and the Phillies have spent a fair amount so far, though fans’ reactions to these additions range from not particularly thrilled (Knebel) to outright disgusted (Herrera).

At the outset, none of these signings do much to move the needle more than last year’s additions, many of whom did not last the season. Hopefully, the revamped front office sees something the rest of us don’t.

For now, the Phillies look the same, but different, but very much the same.

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