• Steve Potter

10/21/2020 : 2021 Phillies Payroll - If I were GM 🧐🤪


My friend Jim Peyton ( Phuture Phillies ) wrote a very detailed article on 10/12/2020 that breaks down the current Phillies payroll position as the off season quickly approaches. Check it out on his webpage.


Here’s my take on how I’d approach the offseason if somehow I was the GM 😳😂🤪...


There are six contract commitments ( Harper, Wheeler, Nola, McCutchen, Segura and Kingery ) that total $101.4 million. The luxury tax ( LT) value of those contracts is slightly less at $94.1 million ( according to Spotrac - the site I use for payroll projections ).


Three players have club controlled contract options ( Robertson, Neris and Phelps ). The options total $23.5 million however have a LT impact of $18.1 million. Regardless it’s likely that all three will not be exercised which will cost the team $2.2 million instead as buyout amounts. I’d offer Phelps and Neris deals to stay but at lower amounts than their options. Robertson is also a candidate to be offered a “comeback deal” if he’s healthy at a far reduced price ( below $1 million like Tommy Hunter signed this year ).


Nine players are arbitration eligible ( Velasquez, Morgan, Hembree, Eflin, Hale, Knapp, Hoskins, Dominguez and Arano ). I think that Eflin, Knapp, Hoskins, Dominguez and Hembree should be offered deals ... I’d estimate that to cost $13.2 million which would also be the LT impact amount.


That’s a total of $116.8 million in payout for 11 players with a LT impact of $109.5 million.


In my opinion Neris would sign for $5 million and Phelps for $2.5 million ... that’s a reasonable price for each ... so say we add them at that rate


13 players - $124.3 million payout ... $117 million Luxury Tax hit.


The Phillies are obligated to pay Odubel Herrera even if they waive him. That’s a cost of $10.3 million with a LT impact of $6.1 million


Also need to add $15 million to the LT amount for estimated player benefits that count towards the LT.


So ... actual payroll payout is up to $134.7 million ... LT impact of $123.1 million plus $15 million for a total of $138.1 million


That equates to seven pitchers ( three starters ) and six position players. We will need at least 25 pitchers on the 40 man roster. Keep in mind that Dominguez is likely not going to pitch next season so once he can be placed on the 60 day IL the roster total will go to 41 ... still need 25 other pitchers.


Now we go shopping 🤓 ... we have $71.9 million under the 2021 LT threshold of $210 million to fill out our remaining 28 roster spots.


But ... with revenue streams expected to be down, at least to start the season ... our team owner likely imposes budget constraints beyond the norm ... every team sets a budget each year ... the 2021 budget is likely set a few bars lower. 🤔


With that in mind ....


I would allocate a range of $12 to $20 million for the catching position ... signing Realmuto would be the top end of that scale ... a multi year offer with perhaps back ended increases in pay. A guy like White Sox free agent James McCann on the lower end ... also a multi year deal.


I would allocate $7 to $15 million to the shortstop position. Signing Didi Gregorius would be the upper end of the scale else Marcus Semien or Aldreton Simmons. If that fails then I’d go after Freddy Galvis at the lower end of the pay scale. I have a vision that we have a budding shortstop in the minors just a couple years away 🤔.

I’m gonna offer LHP Jose Alvarez a contract to return ... he was easily the most consistent and best reliever the team has had the past couple of years ... a two year deal worth $4 million per season is in order.


I’d also allocate $7 to $15 million for one or two additional bullpen acquisitions ... note : I’d be looking to build a high velocity and “stuff” relief corps ... that would definitely include home grown products ... Brogdon, Romero, Jones, Rosso, Cleavinger, Singer, Henningan, Leftwich, Sanchez, De Los Santos, Llovera, Parkinson, Carr, Warren, Barber, etc ... need an army of bullpen arms ( aka Rays and Dodgers ) to successfully compete in today’s game ...


Some targets I’d have in mind on the free agent market


Pedro Baez - Dodgers RHP - 32 years old - likely $6 to $7 million to sign him

Justin Wilson - Mets LHP - 33 years - likely $6 to $7 million to sign

Shane Greene - Braves RHP - 31 years old - likely $7 to $9 million to sign him

Trevor May - Twins RHP - 31 years old - likely $3 to $4 million to sign him

Trevor Rosenthal - Padres RHP - 30 years old - likely $4 to $6 million to sign him

Blake Treinen - Dodgers RHP - 32 years old - likely $10 to $12 million to sign him

Sean Doolittle - Nationals LHP - 34 years old - likely $6 to $8 million to sign him

Tony Watson - Giants LHP - 35 years old - likely $5 to $6 million to sign him


I’d also shop for an additional starting pitcher with a budget of $5 to $10 million ... targets would be ...


Mike Minor - A’s LHP - 32 years old - likely $9 to $10 million to sign him

Robbie Ray - Blue Jays LHP - 29 years old - likely $9 to $10 million to sign him

Taijuan Walker - Blue Jays RHP - 28 years old - likely $4 to $5 million to sign him


A couple just Out of Range ... might need to pull some $ from other areas 🤔

James Paxton - Yankees LHP - 31 years old - likely $12 to $14 million to sign

Marcus Stroman - Mets RHP - 29 years old - likely $12 to $14 million to sign


That would give us 18 players ... The balance of the 26 man roster will be made up of current players in the system ... that will cost about $4.8 million


Lastly the 14 remaining spots on the 40 man roster are fellas who will spend most of their time in the minors ... the industry estimate for those slots that’s used is $2.5 million.


So ... here’s my payroll projection


Six returning contracts - $101.4 million ... $94.1 million Luxury Tax Impact

Contract buyouts - $2.2 million ... $2.2 million Luxury Tax Impact

Odubel payout - $10.3 million ... $6.1 million Luxury Tax Impact

Five Arbitration Deals - $13.2 million ... $13.2 million Luxury Tax Impact

Resign Neris and Phelps - $7.5 million ... $7.5 million Luxury Tax Impact

Catcher signing ... $12 to $20 million ... $12 to $20 million Luxury Tax Impact

Shortstop signing ... $7 to $15 million ... $7 to $15 million Luxury Tax Impact

Re sign Jose Alvarez - $4 million ... $4 million Luxury Tax Impact

Bullpen adds ... $7 to $14 million ... $7 to $14 million Luxury Tax Impact

Starting Pitching adds ... $5 to $10 million ... $5 to $10 million Luxury Tax Impact

Remaining slots on 26 man roster ... $5 million ...$5 million Luxury Tax Impact

14 slots on 40 man roster ... $2.5 million ... $2.5 million Luxury Tax Impact

Allocation for Players Benefits : $15 million ( included in Luxury Tax Impact )


Total Payroll : $ $178 to $205 million (excludes benefits amount ) ... Luxury Tax Impact. $182 million to $209 million ( includes benefit amount ) .


Mr Middleton may not approve a budget in that full range ... at the $178 million low end it’s an 11 percent reduction of what the full payroll would have approximately been in 2020 ... at the high end it’s a 2 percent increase ... somewhere south of the $200 million is the likely 2021 limitation I’d guess 🤔...


Should be an interesting off season ... stay tuned.


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️





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