The baseball world is waiting. Waiting for all of the talk, rumor, and speculation that has characterized the start of the ‘Hot Stove’ season to turn into action.
In few other cities is that talk more heated than right here in Philadelphia. The hometown Phillies would appear to have a ton of money to spend and the will of ownership to spend that money.
Last week here at Phillies Nation, I made the case that the team could afford to sign Bryce Harper as a free agent, perhaps Manny Machado as well, keep paying homegrown stars Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins, sign a free agent pitcher such as Patrick Corbin, and still have enough to make a legitimate play for Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent in two years.
Rob Huff at MLB Trade Rumors did a great job today in breaking down the Phillies projected 2019 payroll. I recommend everyone take the time to click on the link and read his detailed piece. Huff paints a picture that supports my own theory on where the club stands and what they will do this off-season.
Early on in this piece, Huff describes well the hot seat that GM Matt Klentak finds himself sitting on right now:
“While Klentak appears to have strong support from ownership, the fourth year of a rebuild is traditionally moving time: if it’s going to work, the wins need to show up and in a big way.”
On Maikel Franco, who some seem to think the Phillies are going to trade this off-season (a move I do not support), Huff again gets it right by stating that Franco “…may represent a tough non-tender decision in future years if he continues to struggle getting on base, but for now, he has age, power, and pedigree on his side, justifying his $5.1 million figure.”
Getting to the issue of the Phillies possible pursuit of Harper and Machado, we see that Huff agrees with me:
“…they’re definitely players for Harper and Machado, and from a purely financial perspective, it’s within the realm of possibility that they could be contenders to sign both young stars.”
Huff wraps up his piece with a six-point list of circumstances which point to his conclusion that “…the Phillies are going to spend and spend big.”
Those six include the clubs need to add an impact bat or two at any position other than first base. They also include a history showing that the club has been willing and able to support payrolls nearly double the average spent over the last three seasons. Finally, there is a front office and ownership group willing and motivated to spend.
Huff projects the Phillies payroll to come in around the $160 million mark for the 2019 season. This would leave them with the possibility of spending an additional $50 million in staying under the Luxury Tax.
That is a significant figure by itself. However, should Klentak be able to dump Santana on some team willing to pay any of the $20 million owed him, that available figure would rise. It would rise again should the Phillies do as I suggest, and non-tender Hernandez.
Being able to move Santana and Hernandez off the payroll could free up another $15 million for new and future salaries. Huff makes the same case that I made, and that many others have made, that the Phillies have money to spend and the need and desire to spend it. And now, we all wait.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Harper, Hernandez, Machado: 3 takeaways from the start of hot stove season
- Chris Young named to replace Rick Kranitz as Phillies pitching coach
- Rival executive says the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of Carlos Santana
- In a sea of free agent stars, Michael Brantley could provide real value
- Phillies called a “best fit” for trades involving Goldschmidt and Indians pitchers