Analysis

A look at the Phillies 2020 payroll with prorated salaries


Bryce Harper is entering his second season with the Phillies. (Ian D’Andrea)

It is going to be a little different than usual, but baseball is back.

The start date for the 2020 MLB season became official earlier this week. On July 24, the season will begin and last 60 games. Players’ salaries will now be prorated, which greatly reduces each team’s payroll for the year.

Earlier this year, we took a look at the Phillies payroll and figured out that their final number would be $202.3 million, $5.7 million under the competitive balance tax.

It is unclear exactly what the luxury tax threshold will be in 2020, but now knowing exactly how many games will be played, we can see how much each Phillie under contract will make this season.

Here is how the Phillies payroll breaks down with just a month remaining until Opening Day:

Guaranteed contracts

The Phillies have 18 guaranteed contracts in 2020 that, with the 60-game prorated salaries, now total $61 million. They are as follows:

Pitching

Hector Neris – $1.7 million

The Phillies settled prior to an arbitration hearing with Neris, who had a career year in 2019. They also bought out his final arbitration year in 2021, in which he will now be owed $7 million if the Phillies choose to exercise his option. Neris is set to be a free agent following that season.

Tommy Hunter – $324K

During the 2018, the Phillies gave Hunter a two-year, $18 million contract. After an up-and-down first year, Hunter only appeared in a few games last season due to arm injuries that kept him sidelined for much of the year. The Phillies are bringing Hunter back at a much cheaper cost in hopes he can regain his production that brought them to sign him back in 2018.

Jose Alvarez – $1.09 million

The left-hander was acquired in a one-for-one swap that sent Luis Garcia to the Angels last offseason, and he was one of the only reliable relievers on the team in 2019. He is set to be a free agent following the 2020 season.

Vince Velasquez looks like he may get another shot in the Phillies rotation in 2020. (JCS/Icon Sportswire)

Vince Velasquez – $1.33 million

Velasquez, who was acquired in the Ken Giles trade in 2015, has been frustrating for most of his Phillies tenure. However, the stuff is there, and the Phillies trust him enough that they tendered him a contract for this season. Velasquez will enter his final year of arbitration in 2021 before becoming a free agent.

Adam Morgan – $583K

Morgan spent parts of the 2019 season on the injured list but was reliable when healthy. The biggest question will be how the new three-batter minimum rule affects Morgan, as he was often used in one-batter situations in 2019. Morgan will enter his third year of arbitration in 2021 before becoming a free agent.

Zach Eflin – $972K

Eflin was the Phillies second most reliable starter in 2019 and was effective other than a midsummer stretch in which he struggled greatly. He will enter his third year of arbitration in 2021 before becoming a free agent.

David Robertson – $4.07 million

The Phillies signed Robertson because of his ability to stay on the field and avoid injuries throughout his career. That strategy, however, has not worked as planned, as it is currently unclear if Robertson pitches at all in 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. Robertson has a $12 million club option in 2021 that includes a $2 million buyout.

Aaron Nola – $3.15 million

Nola signed a four-year, $45 million contract extension last spring. The team’s ace is owed $12.25 million in 2021 and $15.5 million in 2022, with a $16 million team option in 2023.

Zack Wheeler – $8.74 million

The Phillies signed Wheeler to a five-year, $118 million contract in November. While the price appeared steep at the time of the signing, subsequent deals to Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole showed that the Phillies got Wheeler at a fair market value, especially if he hasn’t peaked.

Infield

J.T. Realmuto – $3.7 million

The Phillies won the arbitration hearing against Realmuto, saving $2.4 million in the process. The All-Star catcher is set to become a free agent following the 2020 season, but there remains good chance that the Phillies lock him up long-term before it gets to that point.

Andrew Knapp – $263K

Knapp is certainly not a fan favorite, but he has improved defensively during his three years as a Phillie. He is likely to spend 2020 as the team’s backup catcher and has two remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent.

Jean Segura – $5.5 million

The Phillies acquired Segura in the trade that sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to Seattle in December of 2018. He was a mild disappointment both at the plate and in the field, and the expectation is that the team will move him to either third and/or second base in 2020. Segura is owed $14.85 million both in 2021 and 2022, with a $17 million team option in 2023.

Scott Kingery is entering his third season with the Phillies. (Cheryl Pursell)

Scott Kingery – $555K

The Phillies made history prior to the 2018 season when they gave Kingery a contract extension prior to his major-league debut. After struggling greatly in 2018, Kingery had a couple of really good stretches in 2019 that showed why he received that extension. It is unclear where he will play in 2020, but he is owed $4 million, $6 million and $8 million respectively from 2021 to 2023. He has $13 million, $14 million and $15 million club options from 2024 to 2026.

Didi Gregorius – $5.19 million

The Phillies signed Gregorius to a one-year, $14 million contract at the conclusion of the MLB Winter Meetings. Gregorius was a top shortstop in baseball before missing time after Tommy John surgery and struggling in 2019. His contract stands as a prove-it deal, and he will become a free agent following the 2020 season

Outfield

Bryce Harper – $10.2 million

The Phillies gave Harper a 13-year/$330 million contract last offseason, making him the highest paid player currently on the roster. He is owed $27.54 yearly through 2028 and then $23.54 million from 2029-2031.

Andrew McCutchen – $6.3 million

Like Robertson, the Phillies signed McCutchen partly due to his ability to stay on the field, and like Robertson, McCutchen suffered a serious injury that sidelined him for a majority of the 2019 season. The 33-year-old is expected to return on time in 2020 due to the delayed start. McCutchen is owed $20 million in 2021 and has a $15 million club option in 2022 with a $3 million buyout.

Odubel Herrera – $2.72 million

Herrera didn’t play after he was arrested in late May following a domestic incident between him and his girlfriend. He was suspended for the remainder of the season in July, and after clearing waivers, remains in the Phillies system. He is owed another $10.35 million in 2021, with club options of $11.5 million in 2022 and $12.5 million in 2023.

Jay Bruce – $648K

The Phillies acquired Bruce in June and he was great at first, prior to struggling to stay healthy down the stretch of the season. He will likely serve as the team’s fourth or fifth outfielder and a valuable power hitter off the bench before becoming a free agent after the 2020 season.


The Rest

The remaining contracts will be filled by players who have not yet become arbitration eligible, such as Rhys Hoskins and rookies Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard, assuming they spend most of this season with the Phillies. The league minimum salary, which was set at $563,500, is now just $208,700 prorated over 60 games.

Some veteran non-roster invitees, including Francisco Liriano, Neil Walker and Josh Harrison, also stand a chance to make the roster. Most of the earnings for these players was not reported, but would likely be between $1 million and $2 million, which now becomes between $370,000 and $740,000 prorated.

One interesting twist during this season will be roster size, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic. For the first two weeks of the season, teams can carry 30 players. Then, the rosters cut down to 28 for two weeks, after which become 26-man rosters for the remainder of the season.

Adding in estimates for these contracts, miscellaneous costs such as bonuses and the guaranteed 60-game prorated salaries, the Phillies will have roughly $75 million on the books in 2020.

It is unclear exactly what the luxury tax figure will be, but assuming it is roughly 37% of the original $208 million figure, it will stand at $77 million. That would put the Phillies $2.1 million under the tax threshold.

The trade deadline, which is reportedly set to happen on August 31, could be a big one for the Phillies, who are likely to be in the mix of a crowded race for an NL Wild Card spot. Assuming they want to avoid exceeding the tax, they will have to make savvy moves at the deadline in order to improve their team heading into the final stretch of the 2020 season.

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