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Lots of Money Comes From Phillies Payroll As Free MLB Agency Starts

Lots of Money Comes From Phillies Payroll As Free MLB Agency Starts

The five-day window barring MLB free agents from signing new teams ends Thursday, although there won’t be the same kind of crazy rush as in the NFL or NBA where top names come off the plate in the first 48 hours.

MLB’s offseason tends to move at a slower pace — especially in recent years. Winter Meetings, the period that usually includes major moves and groundings for others, are held December 4-7 in San Diego. This week’s general managers meetings took place in Las Vegas.

The Phillies had five days from the conclusion of the world championship to decide what to do with the options in the contracts of Jean Segura and Zach Evelyn. They turned down Team Segura’s $17 million option, making him a free agent. Evelyn declined his share of the $15 mutual option, making him a free agent.

Despite having four players on contracts worth at least $100 million, the Phils have a lot of money out of their paychecks this off-season. They will release an estimated $75 million in salaries at the end of the season with Segura, Eflin, Didi Gregorius, Corey Knebel, Kyle Gibson, Noah Syndergaard, David Robertson, Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia, Johan Camargo and Odubel Herrera no longer under contract.

This number will be reduced by players due to increases. Unsurprisingly selected for the club, Aaron Nola is set to make $1 million more than he did in 2022. Rhys Hoskins and Jose Alvarado will earn more in the final year of refereeing eligibility. Hoskins’ salary is expected to rise from $7.7 million to nearly $11 million, while Alvarado is expected to make less than twice the $1.9 million he earned this past season.

Seranthony Dominguez’s salary should rise from $725,000 to about $2.5 million as he continues the judging process. Ranger Suarez’s contract number for 2023 shouldn’t be too far off as he enters his first judging year. Edmundo Sosa’s salary should rise from $716,000 to $1.25 million.

The Phillies could make long-term contracts with any of these players, but assuming they go through the arbitration process and each player ends up with a salary similar to the number above, that would be an estimated $9.8 million in increases.

Pre-arbitrators like Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, Bryson Stott, Garrett Stubbs, Matt Ferling, Nick Mattoon, Conor Brogdon, Andrew Pelati and Billy Walter will also be entitled to lower raises.

According to the Associated Press, the season-end luxury tax payroll for the Phillies was $243 million, resulting in a first-time tax of $2.6 million. Even after accounting for the aforementioned salary increases, they still have to start the unofficial season with about $65 million from that number.

The four tax limits are $230 million, $250 million, $270 million, and $290 million.

First-time offenders pay 20% over the amount above the first threshold, 32% above the second threshold, 62.5% above the third threshold, and 80% above the fourth threshold.

The Phillies penalty in 2022 was relatively small compared to teams like the Dodgers and Mets because they crossed the tax for the first time and only crossed the first threshold of $230 million.

It seemed likely that the Phils would enter 2023 with greater paychecks than they did in 2022. Ownership waited until I thought the team had a chance to compete to override the luxury tax for the first time, and in the first year of that increased spending, the Phils came two wins away from winning the World Championship. That should only encourage them to spend and fill in the gaps the way they need to for this season.

The Phillies has been heavily linked with superstar Trea Turner, his candid former Nationals teammate Bryce Harper. We discussed how real and relevant Turner is on the latest Phillies Talk podcast.

Away from Turner, there are top-tier free agent options in shortstops at Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson. Velez also need multiple bowlers at the start, and left-handed Carlos Rodon is another player associated with them. Future Hall of Fame Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw are free agents. So are Jacob DeGrum and Chris Bassett.

Phillies will also need to add at least two bullseyes to help offset Robertson and Evelyn’s losses.

With aggressive ownership, Dave Dombrowski’s head of baseball operations proactively filling in holes and a roster that’s proven this year they can handle any team, that’s what makes for a fun Phillies season.

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