The Phillies 2020 season ended nearly four months ago, but the team’s roster looks fairly unchanged outside a couple of bullpen additions. This offseason has been moving at a slow pace throughout baseball, although things have started to pick up over the last couple of weeks.
Much of the talk around the Phillies revolves around how much ownership is willing to spend. The team has been busy over the last three offseasons, handing out big contracts to players such as Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana, Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler. But, despite all of this, the team has failed to finish with a winning record since 2011.
While there are question marks about what the Phillies roster will look like on Opening Day, much of the team is already put together. Here is a summary of all of the Phillies poised to play in 2021 and the details of their contracts.
The player’s 2021 salary will be shown with the luxury tax salary in parentheses afterward. The luxury tax salary is what actually matters if the team approaches the competitive balance tax, which is set at $210 million in 2021. The year in which the player is set to enter free agency is in italics. This is the season for which the player will be set to sign elsewhere.
Bryce Harper – $27,538,462 ($25,384,615)
The Phillies signed Harper prior to the 2019 season, and he has been very good in his first two years with his new team. In 215 games, he has a .903 OPS and has been the best hitter on the team. FA in 2032.
Zack Wheeler – $22,500,000 ($23,600,000)
It became clear right away that the Phillies got a good deal on Wheeler in an offseason in which Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole both signed gigantic contracts. Wheeler excelled in his first season as a Phillie, pitching to a 2.92 ERA in 11 starts. FA in 2025.
Andrew McCutchen – $20,000,000 ($16,666,667)
When the Phillies signed McCutchen, they paid for both his baseball abilities and his tendency to stay healthy. Unfortunately, McCutchen tore his ACL in 2019, and was not the same in the field or at the plate in 2020, when he had a .757 OPS. McCutchen figures to be the Phillies full-time left fielder in 2021 before becoming a free agent after the season. FA in 2022.
Jean Segura – $14,850,000 ($14,000,000)
The Phillies acquired Segura prior to the 2019 season in a trade that sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to the Seattle Mariners. After struggling in 2019, Segura was solid in 2020 for the Phillies and played excellent defense at second base. He looks to slot into second, third or shortstop in 2021, depending what else the Phillies do in the offseason. Segura has two seasons worth a total of $29.7 million left on his contract. $17,000,000 club option in 2023, FA in 2024.
Aaron Nola – $12,250,000 ($11,250,000)
While he didn’t return to his 2018 form, Nola enjoyed somewhat of a bounce back in 2020. He pitched to the tune of a 3.28 ERA and headed one of the best tandems in baseball with Wheeler. Nola signed a four-year, $45 million extension before the 2019 season. $16,000,000 club option in 2023, FA in 2024.
Archie Bradley – $6,000,000
The Phillies signed Bradley to a one-year deal in their first major-league signing of this offseason. The 28-year-old has a 2.95 ERA in 221 games since becoming a full-time reliever in 2017. His addition should add stability to a Phillies bullpen that was historically bad in 2020. FA in 2022.
Scott Kingery – $4,250,000 ($4,000,000)
The Phillies made history in 2018 when they signed Kingery to a six-year, $24 million extension before he even played a major-league game. The team probably expected Kingery to be up-and-down in his first stints as a major leaguer. Unfortunately for the team, though, there have been more downs than ups for Kingery. In 2020, after battling COVID-19 before the season started, Kingery had an OPS of .511 and struggled in the field despite the Phillies making it a point to move him back to his natural position at second base. $13,000,000 club option in 2024, $14,000,000 club option in 2025, $15,000,000 club option in 2026, FA in 2027.
PLAYERS ENTERING ARBITRATION
The Phillies settled prior to arbitration with all of their eligible players. A player first reaches arbitration when they accrue three years of service time as a major leaguer, and is then arbitration-eligible for three years before becoming a free agent.
Rhys Hoskins – $4,800,000
Hoskins’ second-half struggles in 2019 were a big topic of conversation during the long offseason. But the first baseman bounced back in a big way in 2020, slugging nine home runs in his final 19 games of the season. Unfortunately, Hoskins tore his UCL and had to get surgery to repair it, and his season ended in the middle of September. Hoskins should be ready to go in 2021, although it is unclear if he will be able to man first base right away. This will be Hoskins’ first of three years of arbitration. FA in 2024.
Zach Eflin – $4,450,000
The Phillies acquired Eflin in a trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. Since then, Eflin has slowly but surely improved, and 2020 was his best season to date. In 10 starts, he pitched to a 3.97 ERA and struck out 10.7 hitters per nine innings. He is the clear No. 3 in the Phillies rotation. FA in 2023.
Andrew Knapp – $1,100,000
Knapp excelled in the shortened 2020 season, playing in 33 games and hitting for an OPS of .849. While Knapp had shown defensive improvement from year to year, his offensive showing came out of nowhere. He will almost certainly still play as the backup catcher in 2021, although how big a role he plays will depend on who the Phillies sign to start at catcher. FA in 2023.
Vince Velasquez – $4,000,000
Velasquez had his typical season in 2020, showing some flashes while remaining a clear back-of-the-rotation — if that — type of pitcher. The Phillies decided to hold onto Velasquez and tender him a contract for 2021 despite some thinking that he could. FA in 2022.
Hector Neris – $5,000,000
The Phillies recently declined the $7 million club option on Neris, but settled for a lower price before heading to arbitration. Currently the longest-tenured Phillie, Neris has been up-and-down as a reliever, but will be depended on in 2021 in high-leverage situations. FA in 2022.
Seranthony Dominguez – $727,500
The Phillies settled with Dominguez to avoid arbitration, a decision that showed they believe in his long-term potential even if he is unable to make an impact in 2021 as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Dominguez was electric as a rookie, and although he has not shown the same ability since, the Phillies were willing to take a chance considering the current state of the bullpen. FA in 2025.
David Hale – $850,000
The Phillies acquired Hale from the New York Yankees in August as their bullpen woes became apparent. Hale only made six appearances with the team and did not pitch all that well, allowing 17 baserunners and five earned runs in 11 innings of work. Hale’s role in 2021 will depend on how well the Phillies do in free agency, but he is best suited as a middle reliever in low-pressure situations. FA in 2024.
Jose Alvarado — $1,000,000
The Phillies first splash of the offseason came when they acquired Alverado, a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher who has spent the last four seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. Alvarado has struggled with injuries the past two years, but was excellent with a 2.39 ERA in 2018 and adds a hard thrower to the Phillies bullpen. FA in 2024.Embed from Getty Images
There are several projected members of the Phillies 2021 roster who have yet to reach arbitration, which occurs after a player has accrued at least three years of service time. These players will make the major league minimum of $570,500 for the season. A player can also become arbitration-eligible if they accrue more than two and less than three years of service time and are in the top 22% in service time of players that fit that description. That is why Dominguez is in arbitration this season, and it could apply to some of the following players in a couple years.
Bohm skyrocketed through the Phillies farm system after being selected third overall in the 2018 amateur draft. And in 2020, he excelled during the shortened season, slashing .338/.400/.481 and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. While it is unclear if he will stick at third base long-term, Bohm is set to be a key cog in the Phillies lineup for years to come. Likely arb eligible in 2023 (Super Two), FA in 2027.
When the Phillies traded prospect Sixto Sanchez for J.T. Realmuto, Howard became the best pitching prospect in the organization. Unfortunately for the Phillies, Howard struggled during his first major-league stint and his seasoned ultimately ended early due to a shoulder injury. Howard is still just 24 years old and is certain to get a shot in the rotation again in 2021. Likely arb eligible in 2023 (Super Two), FA in 2027).
Haseley had a .690 OPS in 40 games for the Phillies in 2020. That’s production that might be considered okay for an above-average defensive center fielder, which he is not. The 2017 first-round pick out of Virginia still has a future with the Phillies, but it is unclear if it will be in a starting capacity. Arb eligible in 2023, FA in 2026.
Quinn was the other part of the Phillies center-field platoon in 2020, and he struggled through most of the season. In 41 games, he had a .576 OPS, and also had some misplays in the outfield that cost the Phillies. It is unclear what Quinn’s role with the Phillies is moving forward, but the speed he brings to the table is a game changer that might keep the 27-year-old up with the major-league squad. Arb eligible in 2022, FA in 2025.
It’s no secret that the Phillies bullpen was the worst part of the team in 2020. While Brogdon struggled in his first stint, he came on strong down the stretch and struck out 14 hitters in 8 2/3 scoreless innings. He figures to be a key part of the Phillies bullpen moving forward. Arb eligible in 2024, FA in 2027.
Romero surprised everybody in his first appearance with the Phillies when he started pumping fastballs in the mid-to-high 90s. He struggled down the stretch and finished the season with a 7.59 ERA, but still appears to be a promising middle reliever for the team in the future. Arb eligible in 2024, FA in 2027.
Rosso impressed in spring training and in summer camp, throwing a hard cutter with some serious movement. He did not make the same impression during the season, however, allowing seven earned runs in 9 2/3 innings as he floated between the alternate site and the major-league team. Still, Rosso has a future as a reliever or a swing man with the team. FA in 2026.
Suarez might have been the favorite to claim the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation in spring training before baseball shut down for three months. When it started back up again, Suarez dealt with COVID-19 and was unable to make an appearance with the club until early September. Suarez got lit up in all three of his appearances, allowing nine earned runs in just four innings pitched, and it is unclear what his future with the Phillies will hold. Arb eligible in 2023, FA in 2026.
The soft-tossing left-handed pitcher has struggled thus far in his major-league career, pitching to a 6.75 ERA in 19 games since 2019. Irvin only pitched in three games in 2020 and was buried in the depth chart even with the struggles faced by the Phillies bullpen. Considering this, it is hard to imagine how much of a role Irvin has with the Phillies moving forward.
The Phillies selected Holder in the Rule 5 draft last month. The 26-year-old is thought to be an above-average defensive shortstop and a light hitter, posting a .742 OPS with the Trenton Thunder in 2019. He represents a utility option for the team in 2021.
According to Spotrac, the Phillies luxury tax payroll currently sums to roughly $152.1 million, which is $57.9 million under the tax threshold. The Phillies CBT payroll was at $204 million, which is still over $50 million more than where the team stands now,
Obviously, the biggest priority for the team moving forward is re-signing star catcher J.T. Realmuto, and right now signs point towards the team being able to accomplish that. If they spend as much as they did in 2020, that would leave them well-positioned to re-sign Didi Gregorius as well, in addition to multiple low-end pitching options.
While the Phillies should make these moves to sustain a talented core of players, doing so will not guarantee anything in an increasingly competitive NL East. Stay tuned over the next several weeks as the Phillies offseason continues to play out.
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