Phillies Offseason Primer: Free Agents, Payroll, Offseason Needs

Philadelphia Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski
Philadelphia Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

When you're coming down from one of the most improbable NLCS losses in recent memory, what can you do but just try to move on? That's what the Philadelphia Phillies should be asking themselves as they go into the offseason. They still have one of the most powerful lineups in baseball and a savvy front office that is more than capable of figuring out what went wrong this year, and how they can fill in the gaps in 2024.

It's likely that the Phillies will continue to be a juggernaut for years to come, it'll just take some smart moves from President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, GM Sam Fuld, and the rest of the Phillies suits to build a little better next season. From payroll to free agents to Rule 5 draftees, here are the basics on the Phillies' outlook this offseason.

Phillies projected payroll for 2024

Estimated 2024 Payroll: $222,421,161
Estimated 2024 Luxury Tax Payroll: $224,942,341

With the Phillies set to retain most of their high profile offensive core and many of their best pitchers, they currently sit atop Spotrac's list of teams projected spending in 2024, leap frogging the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and New York Mets to move from fifth to first. It's incredibly likely that Philadelphia's spending will only go up when they either re-sign free agents, sign their replacements, or reach agreements with any of their seven players eligible for arbitration.

Next year's luxury tax ceiling is $237 million, raised by $4 million from this year. The Phillies exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2022 and 2023, and with names like Bryce Harper and Trea Turner on a roster that will need to make room for other guys, it seems inevitable that they'll crash through that ceiling again.

Phillies free agents

Rhys Hoskins
Aaron Nola
Craig Kimbrel
Michael Lorenzen
Drew Ellis

These five Phillies free agents represented a combined $42,470,000 in 2023, which the Phillies might be looking to free up going into 2024. However, there's a lot of love in Philly for Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola, the two longest tenured Phillies currently with the organization. If any of these free agents want to make an argument for themselves to stay, Nola probably has the best shot at it. Hoskins missed the majority of the season with an spring training injury, and Kimbrel and Lorenzen had inconsistent seasons on the mound and rocky postseason appearances.

Phillies players eligible for arbitration

Ranger Suarez
Alec Bohm
Gregory Soto
Jeff Hoffman
Jake Cave
Dylan Covey
Garrett Stubbs

The name to watch here is Ranger Suarez, who is going into arbitration after avoiding it last year. Despite a rocky start to Game 7, Suarez had an impressive overall season with the Phillies and is gaining a reputation for being a great defensive pitcher. His salary has grown exponentially since 2021, and it's likely that he'll approach negotiations with the team asking for more than the almost $3 million he made this year. The other big name is Alec Bohm, who is pre-arb and won't need to be considered as heavily as Suarez.

Phillies offseason needs

The Phillies need to figure out who's going to play first base. After Hoskins went down with injury, Bryce Harper stepped up and learned to play first base as he was coming off of injury. This allowed Kyle Schwarber, whose bungles in left field will be familiar to anyone who likes sports bloopers, to DH, moving Johan Rojas and Christian Pache to the outfield. It made the Phillies better not just on paper (Schwarber's performance in the outfield brought down Philadelphia's defensive metrics all by itself), but in real life too.

Will the Phillies keep Hoskins, with the domino effect putting Schwarber back in left field to miss routine fly balls? Or will they let Hoskins walk, leaving alone a defensive configuration that, frankly, looked okay without him during the 2023 season?

Phillies players eligible for the Rule 5 draft of note

Carlos de la Cruz
Samuel Aldegheri

de La Cruz and Aldegheri are the only two Phillies prospects on MLB Pipeline's top 30 who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, with de la Cruz at six and Aldegheri further down at 28. The Rule 5 draft opens to players who have been in the minor leagues for 4-5 seasons and aren't on a MLB 40-man roster.