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How much room do the Phillies have under the luxury tax threshold in 2022?


Dave Dombrowski is the Phillies president of baseball operations. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Phillies disappointing 2021 season ended nearly one month ago, and once the World Series comes to an end, the offseason will be in full swing.

Much of the talk around the Phillies revolves around the ever-present question of how much ownership is willing to spend in order to improve a team with so many clear holes. The team has been busy over the last four offseasons, handing out big contracts to players such as Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana, Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler and J.T. Realmuto. But, despite all of this, the team has failed to reach the postseason 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 2022 and the details of their contracts.

GUARANTEED CONTRACTS

The player’s 2022 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 2022. 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 three years with his new team. 2021 was his best season in red pinstripes yet, as he is the favorite to win the NL MVP. In 356 games overall, he has a .958 OPS and has been the best hitter on the team. FA in 2032.

Zack Wheeler – $26,000,000 ($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. Now two seasons in, Wheeler has a 2.82 ERA in 43 start. FA in 2025.

J.T. Realmuto – $23,875,000 ($23,100,000)

The Phillies re-signed Realmuto to a five-year contract last offseason. 2021 was the worst of his three seasons with the Phillies, but he remained one of the best catchers in baseball and finished the year with 4.4 fWAR. FA in 2026

Didi Gregorius – $15,250,000 ($14,000,000)

After signing a two-year, $28 million contract last offseason, Gregorius was set to be a key cog in the middle of the Phillies lineup. However, he struggled greatly in 2021, hitting to a .639 OPS and struggling in the field. While the upcoming free agent class features a plethora of talented shortstops, Gregorius remains under contract with the Phillies for one more season. FA in 2023.

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. Since struggling in 2019, Segura has been one of the team’s best all-around players, with a .784 OPS in 2021 to go along with good defense at second base. $17,000,000 club option in 2023, FA in 2024.

Aaron Nola – $15,500,000 ($11,250,000)

Nola had aguably his second-worst season as a professional in 2021, pitching to a 4.63 ERA in 32 starts. However, peripheral numbers indicate he will improve in 2022. Nola signed a four-year, $45 million extension before the 2019 season. $16,000,000 club option in 2023, FA in 2024.

Kyle Gibson – $7,000,000 ($9,333,333)

The Phillies acquired Gibson at the trade deadline, but he was more than just a rental. While he struggled down the stretch and his ERA as a Phillie was 5.09, he is set to slot in the back of the rotation in 2022. FA in 2023.

Scott Kingery – $6,250,000 ($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. He was designated for assignment in 2021, and remains with the organization despite no longer being on the 40-man roster. $13,000,000 club option in 2024, $14,000,000 club option in 2025, $15,000,000 club option in 2026, FA in 2027.

Rhys Hoskins is eligible for arbitration this offseason. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

PLAYERS ENTERING ARBITRATION

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.

The Phillies have yet to settle with any arbitration-eligible players. The following figures are projections from MLB Trade Rumors.

In addition to the players below, Travis Jankowski and Ronald Torreyes are arbitration eligible. Given their status as veteran utility players, it feels unlikely the Phillies would tender either a contract through arbitration.

Rhys Hoskins – $7,600,000

Hoskins’ second-half struggles in 2019 were a big topic of conversation during the long offseason. But the first baseman has been much more proudctive in his last two seasons, slugging .522 over 148 games. Hoskins has missed time at the end of each of the last two seasons due to injury, with surgery to repair an abdomen tear ending his 2021 season in August. This will be Hoskins’ second of three years of arbitration. FA in 2024.

Zach Eflin – $6,000,000

The Phillies acquired Eflin in a trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. Since then, Eflin has slowly improved to become a legimitimage mid-rotation piece. Eflin pitched to a 4.17 ERA in 2021, but missed much of the second half due to season-ending knee surgery. FA in 2023.

Odubel Herrera  – $11,500,000 (Team Option)

Herrera’s guaranteed contract came to an end following the 2021 season, but he does not have enough service time to become a free-agent. The Phillies are sure to decline his $11,500,000 team-option, which includes a $2.5 million buyout. They could certainly non-tender Herrera, who had an up-and-down 2021. FA in 2023

Andrew Knapp – $1,500,000

Knapp excelled in the shortened 2020 season, but took a big step back in 2021. He hit just .152 with a .429 OPS, making it unclear whether he will be tendered a contract next season with Rafael Marchan waiting in the wings. FA in 2023.

Seranthony Dominguez – $800,000

The Phillies settled with Dominguez to avoid arbitration in 2020, a decision that showed they believe in his long-term potential even though he was unable to make an impact in 2021 while he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Dominguez was electric as a rookie, and although he has not shown the same ability since, the Phillies seem willing to take a chance considering the current state of the bullpen. FA in 2025.

Jose Alvarado — $1,900,000

The Phillies acquired Alvarado from the Tampa Bay Rays last offseason, and he had an up-and-down 2021. He finished the season with a 4.20 ERA and a WHIP of 1.599. FA in 2024.

PRE-ARBITRATION

There are several projected members of the Phillies 2022 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.

SUMMARY

According to Spotrac, the Phillies luxury tax payroll currently sums to roughly $181.4 million, which is just $28.6 million under the tax threshold.

Assuming that ownership remains hesitant to go over that threshold, the Phillies are not left with too much wiggle room. At the very least they need a center fielder, a big bat and bullpen help, and perhaps more to contend with a consistently improving NL East.

There is also a historic free-agent shortstop class, but the Phillies space under the threshold might not even be enough to sign Carlos Correa, or Corey Seager or even Trevor Story.

Dave Dombrowski will need to get creative in order to optimize the Phillies roster in 2022. With Hoskins, Realmuto, Wheeler, Harper and Nola all in their prime, the front office has no time to waste.

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