Phillies Bank a Lot of Money from Injuries and Trades- Will They Use It?


Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Cole Hamels has been traded, and the team will announce it today. Matt Harrison is coming back with a guaranteed deal for the next two years. The Phillies will pay for a little bit of Harrison’s deal, which if the $9.5 is split out over the full four years, means the Phillies have about $6.125 million in savings in 2016 and 2017, and $18.125 million in 2018.

This is not the only financial flexibility gained lately for the Phillies. They got out of all of Jonathan Papelbon’s $13 million option for 2016, which looked certain to vest. Cliff Lee isn’t going to attempt to come back, meaning the Phillies have a $12.5 million obligation to buy him out, but saved $15 million he could have vested if he finished the season. Chase Utley’s $15 million option is unlikely to vest now too, and so they will only owe him $2 million to buy him out. All told, the Phillies have saved $47.125 million for 2016.

Currently, they don’t have many guys under contract at all for 2016. Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, and Matt Harrison are the only major league guaranteed deals they have. They owe Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez another $4.67 million yet as well, so factor that in as well. That’s all the guarantees they have right now. That equals $52.17 million, and when you tack on the payment for Hamels ($2.375 million) and buyouts for Lee and Utley ($14.5 million), you get $69.045 million committed, pre-arbitration, renewals of contracts, and free agency.

Current 2016 Phillies Payroll

As you’ll see in the PDF above, I have the Phillies payroll pegged around $97,475,000 for 2016 right now, and when you add MAG on there, you’re at $102,145,000 right now for 2016. I assumed contracts would be tendered to players, and I filled holes “in house.” In essence, I set a minimum bar. You can fill in a few spots (Ben Revere or Dom Brown) with a younger, cheaper option (Aaron Altherr), but you mostly would have to pay more to upgrade on these positions. The Phillies had a payroll of in the $170,000,000 plus range just a few short years ago, so you can dream of doing some spending.

I see them spending another $30-40 million this off-season, but not going crazy yet where they go back into the highest payrolls in the game. I see a top end starting pitcher, at least one outfielder, and a solid set-up guy as the absolute priorities for this team to upgrade. The Phillies have the the financial flexibility to do that now, following the deals they’ve made.

Remember though, there’s a day left before the deadline, so a lot can change by this evening.

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